#MysteriousReads | #BookReview | THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB (Isabel Dalhousie #1) by Alexander McCall Smith @McCallSmith (January 1st 2004, Abacus @AbacusBooks)

THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB (Isabel Dalhousie #1) by Alexander McCall Smith
Published; 1st January 2004, Abacus

Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective.  Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small. 

In this first instalment, Isabel is attending a concert in the Usher Hall when she witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Isabel can’t help wondering whether it was the result of mischance or mischief. Against the best advice of her no-nonsense housekeeper Grace, her bassoon playing friend Jamie, and even her romantically challenged niece Cat, she is morally bound to solve this case. Complete with wonderful Edinburgh atmosphere and characters straight out of a Robert Burns poem, 
The Sunday Philosophy Club is a delightful treat from one of our most beloved authors.

When reading the synopsis I was expecting this book to be a crime story and it sort of was but not quite the story I was expecting. I’m not sure I would have quite picked this book to read myself, but as I have the second in the series on my shelf which I plan to read as part of my “Beat the Backlist” and cannot start a series part way through i had to give this one a try. I think this can be quite good sometimes, trying something different is very rarely a bad thing. 

Isabel Dalhousie witnesses a man fall from a balcony whilst out at the opera. As she struggles to grasp what she has seen she tries to find out more information about the man and what caused the fall. 

I found the fall/murder was more of a back story as we were introduced to Isabel, her niece Cat, Cat’s ex boyfriend Jamie who Isabel has befriended and taken quite a shine to as well as Isabel’s house keeper Grace. I felt like the murder story line didn’t really get going until much later into the book and was probably a little rushed, and as Isabel isn’t a private detective or really have an official investigative role it might have been a bit strange if she suddenly became one. Isabel just took upon herself to find closure for herself and to find an explanation for this huge event she witnessed. 

Don’t be deceived by the title either, although The Sunday Philosophy Club is mentioned several times we never actually get to meet them or see what they are actually about. I’m hoping this might be rectified in later books. 

That’s the bad part of my review and despite all of that, I did enjoy the story. It took me a little while to get into but not enough that I considered stopping reading and once I got into it I found I even quite enjoyed it. I did struggle with some of the technical jargon and some of the themes that Isabel mentioned but they weren’t a huge part of the book and I could just ignore them and it didn’t ruin anything for me. I couldn’t guess what the outcome was going to be or who the murderer would be so that added an element of surprise for me which definitely made the book more interesting for me. Alexander also writes the ending well so that all loose endings are tied up which is nice for a book that is the beginning of a series. 

I think if someone wants to try something a little different to a hardcore thriller or a romance novel which revolves around boy and girl then this might be something to pick up.

You can buy THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB (Isabel Dalhousie #1) from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#PromoPost| #SpecialOffer | ONE LAST SUMMER by Victoria Connelly @VictoriaDarcy (February 5th 2019, Lake Union Publishing @BOTBSPublicity)

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.

First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes.

About Victoria Connelly;

Victoria Connelly studied English literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens.

She is the author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Ms Connelly loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden with either a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Author Links;

Facebook

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2860092.Victoria_Connelly?from_search=true

Instagram: @VictoriaConnellyAuthor

Website: www.victoriaconnelly.com

Does this book sound like your next read?! Because it certainly does to us! Right now, you can get your hands on a copy of ONE LAST SUMMER for the special price of £1.00(UK) or $2.00(AUD)!!! You can’t even get a coffee for that price. Well you could…but it would be a shite coffee! A book will give you more satisfaction!! 🙂

How do you get hold of this book you ask? Easy peasy…head over to the links below and ‘one-click’ away!!

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#RisqueReads | #BookReview | GENTLEMAN SINNER by Jodi Ellen Malpas @JodiEllenMalpas (February 5th 2019, Forever @readforeverpub)

GENTLEMAN SINNER by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Published: February 5th 2019, Forever Books

An all-the-feels novel of fierce love overcoming a dark past from the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling THIS MAN series.

Izzy White knows of the darkness in this world. After all, she escaped it long ago. Determined not to let her past beat her, Izzy has a secure, stable life with a job she loves in nursing. But one act of kindness will completely upend everything she’s so carefully built-putting her right back in the crosshairs of danger she’s been so desperate to avoid.

When Theo Kane shows up like a knight in shining armor, Izzy can’t help thinking she’s been saved from one threat and exposed to another. His imposing physique, the harsh lines of his face, and the wariness of everyone who comes close are just a few clues to Theo Kane’s notorious reputation. The man is positively terrifying. But with Izzy, he’s tender and a complete gentleman, and her fascination with the mysterious beast of a man becomes too powerful for her to walk away.

As Theo’s demons come to light, running becomes even more impossible. And yet staying together could doom them both.

Where do we start with this novel, the latest treasure from one of my all time favourite authors Jodi Ellen Malpas.

Let me start by saying that I am utterly and completely in love with this story, with these characters and I did not want it to end. Theo Kane and Izzy White are every bit the couple we expect from JEM, beautiful, intriguing, sexy as hell and utterly swoon worthy. Here is an author who knows her audience, she gives the reader exactly what they want and so much more.

Theo Kane isn’t like other JEM alpha’s, he is bigger, meaner and yet even more desirable. Posing a threat to those around him, all except Izzy White. Here is a woman who will not bow down to a man, she stands her ground and will fight for those she loves. Their relationship isn’t without complications, as to be expected with any JEM novel but there is a raw beauty to their relationship that cannot be denied. The chemistry between them is palpable, emitting from every page, forcing us to read until we get to the very end.

There is something about Theo Kane that hits you, the reader, so far to the core that you want to be Izzy White, maybe not the horrid past she has had the power to overcome but the gentleness and caring nature she shares with Theo. This is a story that struck me to the core, in a way that does not happen often for this cynical reader. I can read some love stories and be utterly unmoved, but JEM has a way of writing that never fails to touch the reader.

I finished the book in a matter of days, a feat for me when 2019 has been completely kicking my ass so far. But this novel was the perfect escapism, letting me leave behind the stress of work and just enjoy reading, enjoy the characters, the talent of the author and forget about everything else.

I was so eager to read this new novel that I ordered it in both paperback and e-book version, the paperback will go nicely on my book shelf, right next to the other JEM treasures housed there. As for the e-book, this is safely on my Mum’s Kindle. Already she is reading and falling in love with Theo and Izzy, enjoying the new adventures into the wonderful world created by JEM. I cannot wait for her to read it all, to fall for these characters on a level she hasn’t before.

If anyone asks for a book recommendation this year, this novel will definitely be the one I talk about. Already I’ve got my colleague intrigued and my fellow P Turners. No one should pass up the chance to pick up a novel by the amazing Jodi Ellen Malpas, because I can promise you this, every reader needs a little JEM in their life.

You can pick up your copy of GENTLEMAN SINNER at the following outlets (but remember to shop your local indie booksellers too!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#PTurnersBookClub | #BookReview | A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara (March 10th 2015, Picador @picadorbooks)

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara
10th March 2015, Picador

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

[K] Review

22.02.19 Literally just finished, I think I need some time to gather my thoughts before reviewing this one

25.02.19  I think I have had enough time now to gather my thoughts and my page and a half of review notes to give this a go.

This book was read as part of the P Turners blog book club.

I do have to say A Little Life isn’t a book I would normally pick up, I seem to live in a cave as I had never heard anything about this book or any of the fervor this book created being nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Nor is there any synopsis on the back of this book (again doesn’t encourage me to pick it up).

Without giving too much away about this book it follows the life of Jude St Francis, where we first meet him whilst he is in college. There are flashbacks to his harrowing childhood and how he was brought up and we follow him onward from college to his older years. We get to meet all the people he interacts with, good and bad, some deserving more detail than others. I felt emotionally involved in the story and characters as if he was speaking to me about his life in a journal. Speaking about his friends in such a way I very nearly googled them, to then remember these were fictional.

Whilst I have had book hangovers before despite this taking me 3 weeks to read (it is a lot of pages!) I have never felt this sense of loss I felt when finishing this story. I found I was held rapt and enslaved with the detail and depth of the writing.  This novel has taken me well out of my comfort zone and my ‘safe’ genres but will definitely be one that will stay with me.

*L* Review

This book was actually picked by S for a blog book club read and although I’m not sure I would have chosen it for myself to read, I am not one to not at least try so I got started. 

I didn’t not like this book but I struggled with the amount of words and the way it was written. Personally for me I felt that Hanya could have gotten away with a lot less description, there were points where I found myself losing interest and would drift away from the story. It certainly didn’t grip me, I found myself just wanting to get to the end by about 80%.

I also found it hard to keep track of the the timeline of events, the story would start at one point and then jump back in time to something that happened a few months before hand and then back to the starting point and I found myself not really knowing what happened when. It starts off with 4 main characters and I got the impression that the story would be based on the 4 but it seemed to then switch to all be about one particular character with narration from another at points. The other 2 became more like back ground characters although one of them does have a part that’s about him but it’s not consistent. I disliked that as I think I would have enjoyed reading about the 4 and not just the small glimpses we get. I feel that if Hanya wanted it to be about Jude then she should have left the bit based on JB out completely. It felt like a bit of a teaser and irrelevant to the rest of the book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if there were more about the other characters we are introduced to. 

This book is a very hard hitting book to read. It should come with a number of trigger warnings. Depression and child abuse being the worse things that come to mind. Hanya does write about depression well and those scenes of hyenas chasing Jude came to live in a real way. I found it difficult to read the parts about Jude’s childhood and found I had to take a break several times during those parts. I feel they are needed to really understand why Jude is the way he is and some of the decisions he makes. Hanya describes the self hatred and the emotional depth of Jude’s character extremely well and those bits affected me, to hear what he has been through and continues to struggle with was very difficult.

I did feel a bit heartless when I found myself getting frustrated with Jude. I think I discovered more about myself whilst reading this book. I did quite like Jude’s character, in as much as his friends become his world and when he falls in love you can tell he does it so completely with all of his being, however there were points where I just wanted to take him by his shoulders and shake him to wake up and realise just what he has surrounding him but I guess that’s just one of the ways that depression can affect a person.

All that being said when I got close to the end of the book I did find myself getting very emotional and I realised that maybe this book had affected me a little more than I realised. One very big warning though – do not go into this book expecting a happy ending!

Overall this book will probably stay with me for just how hard hitting and difficult it was. One of the signs of a good book is a book that you find yourself thinking about without even realising and I think this will be one of those for me.

You can buy A LITTLE LIFE from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#RisqueReads | #BookReview | OFF THE AIR (Running on Air #1) by L.H. Cosway @LHCosway (5th March 2019, Indie Published #IndieAuthor)

OFF THE AIR (Running on Air #1) by L.H. Cosway
Published; March 5th 2019, Indie Published

Spending a month filming a reality TV show with your ex is no picnic.

Especially when you’ve signed a contract stating that the two of you will not, under any circumstances, have romantic relations while filming.

Leanne Simmons and Callum Davidson never had an easy relationship. From enemies to lovers and back to enemies, they’ve been on again/off again for years. Things come to a head when Callum gets into an altercation with a rival for Leanne’s affections. Their management decide enough is enough and give them both an ultimatum: sign the contract or leave the show.

Unwilling to give up their livelihoods, Callum and Leanne sign on the dotted line. However, like always, they can’t resist making a bet. Callum thinks it’s only a matter of time before they break the agreement, while Leanne is determined to see it through.

Can she resist him for an entire month without losing her sanity? And what if this is the one bet that finally breaks them both?

Off the Air is a contemporary romance and Book One in L.H. Cosway’s brand new “Running on Air” Series. Each book focuses on a different couple and can be read as a standalone.

Being asked to read OFF THE AIR, the new L H Cosway novel and review it was a dream come true.

I’ve been a massive fan of Cosway since reading KILLER QUEEN last year and couldn’t wait to read her latest adventures. And what a rollercoaster this is, the story of Leanne and Callum, two beautiful souls on a journey of self discovery and at time self destruction. Here is a love story that is cemented in a world we can believe we could orbit. Cosway has once again created a set of characters so intriguing that you never want the novel to end. Not only are we enamoured with Leanne and Cal, with the turbulent and beautiful relationship between them but also with their parkour family.

A bunch of unlikely friends, joined together in their love of free running to become a family that we fall head over heels in love with. Every character has a depth to them that let’s you know Cosway means business. Here is an author who knows her story, sets the tone perfectly and makes you fall in love with every turn of the page. I wanted to read this novel from the offset but I became compelled to read as soon as I was introduced to the beauties Leanne and Cal.

This is a story that lives on once the last page has been turned. When the kindle has died and the tears have been shed. Nothing prepares you for how easily you’ll fall for these characters, but then why would you want to be prepared? All the best rides are ones into the unknown. Every novel I’ve read by L H Cosway has only made me love this author more. Her story telling is fascinating, no two novels the same. The characters she creates are beautiful both in appearance and in soul. Sure nothing is plain sailing but we love the stories all the more for it.

Another one to add the bookshelves, one of those rare reads that pull you out of reality and into the fictional world. I need this in paperback and I most certainly will be reading more of L H Cosway’s work. Just try to stop me!

You can buy OFF THE AIR (Running on Air #1) from the following booksellers (and many more!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#LettersFromTheHeart | #BookReview | CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie (14th September 2000, Transworld Books @TransworldBooks)

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) by Sophie Kinsella
Published; September 14th 2000, Transworld Books

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

This is a re read for me. I have put some of the later releases in the series on my beat the backlist so thought I would refresh my memory by starting from the beginning. I forgot just how much I loved these books. Rebecca is so refreshingly human and being inside her mind is like reading my own story! Well maybe not the constant spending and the huge amount of debt but she is just so down to earth and so likeable.

Rebecca has a big problem! She cannot resist a sale or shopping even when her cards are maxed to the brim, so she tries to cut back or make more money neither of which seem to work out in her favour. As Rebecca runs to her parents to hide from the disaster that appears to be her life she discovers something that could rock the financial world.

This was such a light hearted, funny read. I actually laughed out loud at some of Rebecca’s antics and it’s so easy to lose yourself in the pages of Rebecca’s crazy world as everything seem to crumble around her.

I read this so fast as I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next for Rebecca Bloomwood. Even though I have read the book before I still enjoyed it so much and I am so excited to read the rest of the series. So glad I included these on my beat the backlist so I have an excuse to pick them up again. Cannot wait!

You can buy CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (Confessions #1) from the following booksellers (and many more!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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#NewRelease|#RisqueReads| A PLACE WITHOUT YOU by Jewel E.Ann @JewelE_Ann (December 31st 2018, #IndieAuthor #SocialButterflyPR @jennw23)

A PLACE WITHOUT YOU is the all-new emotional New Adult romance from Jewel E. Ann, is available now!

The Law of Henna and Bodhi:

When love breaks, fall inward, fall together, and fall hard. Then let time pick up the pieces.

Everything feels temporary when you’ve experienced tragedy—until Henna Lane meets Bodhi at a music festival.

Young and spontaneous, they have a lust for seizing the moment, falling hard and fast.

When Bodhi is forced to leave without a goodbye, Henna thinks she’ll never get over him. But then she meets Mr. Malone, her sexy, new guidance counselor.

They are reckless.

They are forbidden.

When their secret is discovered, Henna has to choose between finishing school—banned from seeing Mr. Malone—or dropping out to follow her nomad dreams.

Henna chooses her dreams.

Over time, she learns that life is not a destination or a journey, some things are more than temporary, and the forbidden can never be ignored. But if she returns for him, will he still be hers?

A Place Without You is an emotional story of young love, shattered dreams, and impossible decisions.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited (Where applicable)!

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Excerpt:

“Let’s eat before we leave. I’m sure there’s quite the spread downstairs.”

“Rich people breakfast?” I ask.

She furrows a brow for a few seconds. “Yes. I suppose so.” Rolling away, she swings her legs around and stands up, stretching like a cat.

“Do you eat rich people breakfast every morning?” My curiosity has been piqued.

After a long yawn, she cocks her head to the side, lips slightly twisted. “Shredded Wheat with cut-up banana and almond milk. Is that a rich person’s breakfast?”

I sit up, doing a bit of my own stretching, loving the way her gaze roams along my bare chest, her lips parting ever so slightly. “No. I think that’s a solid middle-class breakfast.”

“Middle. That’s average. Average is good, right?”

“There’s nothing average about you, Henna.” I stand, following her into the bedroom.

“I’m going to shower quickly, and by quickly I mean I need an hour. Do you have an hour?”

“To shower with you?” I try to play it cool, like I’m serious.

I’m a little serious.

The color leaves her face. “Oh, um …” She twists her fingers together, drawing her shoulders inward.

“I’m kidding.”

A little kidding.

Henna’s posture relaxes as her cheeks pink up again. “We could.” Her gaze darts around the room before landing on mine for two seconds only to wander around the room again.

“My clothes are at my hotel. I’ll shower there. I need to get going.”

A slow sigh deflates her chest as she tries on a smile that misses the confident mark by a few centimeters. “Okay.”

“But thanks for the offer.” I wink.

More color paints her cheeks, and it looks stunning on her. “I kinda sorta thought we’d have sex last night, but we didn’t, and that’s fine, but now I don’t know what comes next.”

Does that make me the world’s biggest idiot for not taking what she was planning on offering? Or does that make me a gentleman? I’ve already fucked her a hundred different ways in my head, so I’m going to shy away from the gentleman label.

“How about you put my number in your phone and I’ll call you later today? That feels like a good next, don’t you think?”

Henna nods and turns, walking toward the bedroom door. Digging through her purse, she retrieves her phone. When she pulls it out, a string of three condoms comes out with it. “Oh jeez.” Quickly snatching them off the floor, she shoves them back into her purse.

I don’t respond because I’m not sure what the correct response should be.

“I was conceived at Coachella.” She hands me her phone with the contact screen open, ready for my information.

Taking her phone, I give her an expectant look, but she withholds all elaboration.

“And by conceived, you mean physical conception, not merely an idea kind of conception?” I hand her phone back and give her mine.

“In the shadows behind a stage. I know more details than most people should actually know about the moment they were conceived.” She lifts a shoulder in a small shrug. “But Juni is my best friend. She’s the absolute coolest mom ever, and the story of how she met my dad is my favorite story ever.”

I nod as she keeps her chin tipped toward the screen to my phone. “Why is that?” I take my phone back when she holds it out to me.

“Yin Yang. Opposites. Laws of the universe.” She wears a satisfied smile. “My parents were temporary. I was permanent.” Holding out her arms, she inspects her henna tattoos as if seeing them for the first time. “My mom had henna tattoos on her body when she met my dad. Henna grows in intensity over a few days before fading to nothing. It’s magical and beautiful and then it’s gone. My parents say that about their love for each other. It grew quickly into something deep and intense, but over time it faded. Their love—like most everything in life—was temporary.”

“We’re temporary.”

Her empty stare shifts to meet my gaze and she nods. “Don’t sweat it. Everything is temporary. But today…” she walks into my chest, and my arms wrap around her as she looks up at me “…we should be at our brightest, our most intense.”

About Jewel:

Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course…heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

Connect with Jewel:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjeweleann/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JewelE_Ann

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjeweleann/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jewel-e-ann

-S.

#RisqueReads | #BookReview | THE KISS THIEF by L.J. Shen @lj_shen (January 6th 2019, #IndiePublished #IndieAuthor)

THE KISS THIEF by L.J. Shen
Published; January 6th 2019, Indie Published

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.  

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

After a while, us bookworms start to learn that if we want something in particular, we know which authors to gravitate towards. Those who like a good scare may head straight to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Those wanting a great epic fantasy will head in the direction of Raymond Feist and Terry Pratchett… the lists are endless. Where I am going with this is thanks to THE KISS THIEF, L.J. Shen has now become my ‘go-to’ author when I want to read an ‘enemies to lovers’ story.

Wolfe Keaton. Arsehole. Oh yes, he definitely has that arrogance about him when we are first introduced to him where you wish to give him a good slap. As a man in power, Wolfe is demanding, aggressive and damaged. There’s a reason for his behaviour, a story which we learn throughout the book. Francesca isn’t your ‘woe is me’ damsel. Sure, she has her moments, but for the most part she is a strong woman who until her union with Wolfe has been sheltered and unable to express herself.

There is an obvious chemistry between Wolfe and Francesca, but it’s a slow burning chemistry. Thankfully Leigh doesn’t shove it in our faces the first chance she gets. We’re able to go on the journey with this couple as they fall in love., I’ve said it before Leigh really does have a way of writing characters that mess with both your head and heart! Don’t ever change Leigh! ❤

You can buy THE KISS THIEF from the following booksellers (and many more! Support local booksellers where you can!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

-S.

#LettersFromTheHeart | #BookReview | A LAKE HOUSE HOLIDAY by Megan Squires @MeganSquires (16th October 2018, #IndieAuthor #IndiePublished)

A LAKE HOUSE HOLIDAY by Megan Squires
Published; October 16th 2018, Indie Published


Sometimes you need to get away to find the place your heart calls home. 

Jolene Carter lives in Merrylark Lake, a quaint town where neighbors are like family and vacationers become fast friends. With her dream of opening a downtown storefront on hold, Jolene volunteers wherever she can, whether it be at Cat’s Coffee Cart or the town’s annual tree lighting. It is while she’s tending to her neighbor’s vacation rental that Jolene meets Luke, a cowboy with a mustang rescue and a past he’s hoping to leave back at the ranch. 

Luke Handley isn’t one to believe in holiday magic. That disappeared when his winter wedding was called off and his honeymoon was canceled. But the more time he spends in Merrylark, the more he’s convinced this magic exists. When Luke’s ex unexpectedly shows up as the other half to the lake house reservation, things get complicated. Luke knows all the magic in the world won’t clear up this misunderstanding. If he’s learned anything from Jolene, though, it’s that helping others is the most effective way to show love. With a surprise up his sleeve and a little help from his new Merrylark friends, Luke hopes he’s able to do just that.

I really wanted to read a festive book on the run up to Christmas so I picked this one by Megan Squires. I have read some of her work before and really enjoyed it so I thought it might be good to stick to what I know. 

This was exactly what I needed to get me feeling Christmassy. Based in a little town called Merrylark, (even the town name promises a place of happiness) this is a tale of romance that grows around decorating the Christmas tree and turning the town lights on. Jolene and Luke are 2 lovable characters that you instantly like and as their love story develops you can’t help but hope they find a way to be together. 

I found this to be very predictable (in a good way!), I knew exactly what was going to happen but I wanted something light hearted and warm and that was exactly what this was! I found myself lost in the story and the descriptions are so well written that the story comes to life in your imagination. From the decorations used on the tree and the beautiful town its a place and a story that you want to climb into and be a part of.

I really enjoyed this festive read and would highly recommend to someone just wanting to enjoy the run up to Christmas. Don’t get in expecting huge shock twists or anything dramatic and you won’t be disappointed. This really reminded me that I like Megan Squires and must read the rest of her work that I haven’t quite gotten around to yet.

You can buy A LAKE HOUSE HOLIDAY from the following booksellers (and many more!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

*L*

#BlogTour| #BookReview | ATTEND by West Camel @west_camel (November 15th 2018, Orenda Books @orendabooks)

Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for the release of ATTEND by West Camel.

I would like to say that it is truly my pleasure to be invited onto this blog tour! Particular thanks to Anne Cater, Orenda Books and of course West Camel who gifted me an early copy of ATTEND. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.

To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

A mesmerising debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism…

‘If Armistead Maupin were to write about a diverse group of friends in Deptford, the results might resemble this … You’ll miss these characters when they’re gone’ Paul Burston

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

So, want to know what I thought?;

WOWSERS! I was not expecting that. At all. I’m not really quite sure what I was expecting….but that wasn’t it. This book has taken my head and flung in all directions. ATTEND is unlike any book I have read before and I’m thankful for that as it meant I stopped trying to work out the story in advance and I was able to read and enjoy without prejudice.

The story is told from three very different perspectives (Anne, Sam and Deborah), with insight into Deborah’s life through flashbacks. Both Anne and Sam, handling their own crap life has thrown their way are bought together by Deborah and together they start a journey on self discovery and eventually happiness. All of which may sound rather cliche I know, but West has been able to write these characters and this story with such finesse that you soon forget you are reading a work of fiction.

If you are looking for something COMPLETELY different that hurts your head (in the best possible way!!) then ATTEND is the book for you! If this is West’s first novel, then I am excited to see what he releases next!

About West Camel;

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the

European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres,

A highly anticipated debut, blending the magical realism of Angela Carter and the gritty authenticity of Eastenders and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel..

You can buy ATTEND from the following booksellers (as always – be sure to support your local bookseller!!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

-S.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!