[ARC Review] – I Have Never (First Comes Love #2) – By Camilla Isley

I Have Never (First Comes Love, #2) Rating:

*Note : I received an e-arc of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis2Twenty-nine-year-old Blair Walker is a girl with a plan, or more a girl with a list. A list of dos and don’ts to live the perfect life, land a dream career, and marry Mr. Right.

When Blair loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend all in one day, she starts to wonder if she’s had it all wrong. And what better way to find out than experience everything the list forbade?

Never Lie
Never Pick a Fight
Never Make a Scene
Never Make the First Move
Never Make Impulse Decisions
Never Mix Business and Pleasure…

With hilarious consequences, Blair will discover some items are trickier to tick off than she’d thought…

A laugh out loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, and Mhairi McFarlane.

My reviewHow would you react after going through the worst day of your life? Well, the most sorted thing to do is probably make a “sensible” To-Do list and re-evaluate. But, for Blair, who has always carried and meticulously lived by an actual list of Do’s and Don’ts on paper, this is an opportunity to put the list through a figurative shredder.

I loved the premise as soon as I read the synopsis because I thought it was a pretty cool idea to use the oft-employed idea of “bucket-list” but with a twist. It works pretty well, each chapter is named after something from the list, so it sets the stage nicely for events to come. It is fun trying to guess how exactly would Blair end up doing(or not!) everything  she never planned on before her life upended.

After getting fired and nursing a broken heart, she lands a job at an online-editorial portal. Here, she makes new friends, gets a chance to build an entire fashion/beauty magazine from scratch and finds it more fulfilling than her previous high-profile job. There is another major factor contributing to her happiness too – her boss whom she has been majorly crushing on right from their first accidental encounter. The boss here is Richard, who featured in the first book of this series. Richard, who got ditched at the altar in the previous book, is understandably commitment-phobic and well , just a bit averse to having any girlfriend lasting more than a month. The book centers largely on Blair figuring out whether Richard is interested in taking their relationship beyond the professional realm and Richard getting over his fears after the incidents in the previous book.

This book can be read as a standalone so, if you are wondering about whether to pick this up before the first one,  I would say that it wouldn’t be a problem. But, I personally enjoyed the references to the previous book. My favorite (and the most direct one) was Blair confiding her feelings for Richard to an airport bartender who featured in the previous book. Most of the other references were lingering ones related to Richard’s ex.  Considering that most chicklits are from the girl’s PoV, I feel that the male MC’s character arc is usually rushed or underdeveloped. But Richard’s was actually done pretty well. I liked how the author showed him being “ready” to take the relationship forward but probably at a different pace than what he thought Blair expected of him. It actually made all the “conflicts” between them at the end of the book feel realistic rather than something that was hurriedly thrust into the last pages just to amp up the drama.

With LA celebrities, snarky interviews at fashion houses, takedowns featuring spaghetti-dunking and fake lawsuits, and an adorable puppy, this was very entertaining and a great addition to the series! And just to add to the list of things I loved – Blair’s love for heels, the whole start-up team working for Richard (and yay, it actually mentions the techies too! No seriously, the techies are never mentioned in any of the “magazine/fashion” business set-ups in books. As if the online portals magically run by themselves….), and the clever way in which Blair ends up negating the “eating meat” caveat of her list (as she is a vegetarian).  Respect!

 

[Blog Tour]Spotlight+Excerpt – Corrupt Me by Jillian Quinn

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I am so happy to feature Jill’s (@rantandraveaboutbooks) upcoming debut novel on my blog today. When I saw the tour post, I just knew I had to sign up because:

I loved the Godfather, but always wondered about how it would have read if it had been if women had more role to play in the book. So when Jill mentioned that Corrupt Me was inspired by  the “what-could-have-been” of the relationship between Michael Corleone and Kay Adams, I was hooked!

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Here’s an excerpt from the book: 

Of the three, Luca was the most attractive. And, judging by his cockiness, that wouldn’t be news to him.

Luca cleared his throat, a smirk tugging at his mouth. “Twice in one day.”

He tapped his knuckles on the table. It drove me crazy—the air of confidence he exuded, the whole I-own-the-school mentality. What a pompous ass.

I rolled my eyes and chugged the last sip of my soda. “Yay for me,” I deadpanned, holding the straw to my lips as I fought a smile. “Now, I know you’re stalking me.”

“Where are you really going tonight, bella donna?”

As much as I wanted to smirk, I liked hearing him tell me I was beautiful. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I struggled with my feelings for Luca. The butterflies doing somersaults in my stomach churned up acid from my picked over mystery dinner.

“Bella—” Luca said, breaking the silence.

“That’s not my name,” I just about spit the words. Even though Bella was a nickname for Isabella, I never liked that name much. Luca’s older brother, Mario, always called me Izzie when we were kids, and I thought Izzie better suited me. “You’re an ass, you know that?”

Luca ran his fingers through his dark hair, flashing a very Preston-like smile. “Let me take you out.”

“Not a chance.” My first thought at his words, “take you out,” was that he wanted to whack me, and that provided me with my own personal entertainment. But I knew he’d be pissed if I mentioned that aloud.

I almost felt bad when he frowned, but he recouped quickly. His looks made it so hard to hate on him for too long. Still, I couldn’t allow myself to become involved with someone like him. In some ways, it was a conflict of interest. There was a reason our families severed ties over the years even though I suspected Grandfather had kept in touch with Luca’s father.

I leaned on the table, meeting his gaze. “Is that part of your winning charm? You think you can give me that shit-eating grin, and I’m going to drop to my knees? Like I said, I’m not interested. If this is about earlier, I’d rather give you the money and be done with whatever this is we’re doing.”

He laughed. “I’m not that bad, babe.”

I snorted at his comment, annoyed by his pet names.

He scratched his jaw, the corner of his mouth opening a little bit. He didn’t need game. He had that crooked smile and that sexy mouth I wanted to smash my lips against.

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About the Author:

Jillian Quinnabout-jillian-quinn-bio-graphic

Connect with the Author:

Facebook | Twitter | Author Website | Goodreads Profile

Buy Links:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Kobo|iBooks
Goodreads

Book Trailer:

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Do check out all the tour stops:

 

corrupt-me-blog-tour-week-1-poster

 

corrupt-me-blog-tour-week-2-poster

 

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)

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:

Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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

Teaser Tuesday #3

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

Uneven Exchange

“We are keeping her alive, that’s what we are doing. It won’t be enough to play the part, she has to live it.”  – Pg. 86 , Uneven Exchange – By S.K. Derban

 

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 & 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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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