Jera’s Jamboree review : Kiera’s Quest ~ Choices by Kristy Brown

Kiera's Quest ChoicesFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3533 KB

Print Length: 176 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (16 April 2014)

ASIN: B00JRGJSY2

 

Feeling desperately confused and betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Kiera chose to jump through the disappearing vortex. Did she make it over to Zakk’s kingdom or was she pushed back to Earth? Would she even survive this time?

The next four years are long and heartbreaking for both worlds. As the darkness spreads throughout the lands, will Zakk’s army be able to stop it reaching Earth? Will Tom’s small band of rebels on earth stand a fighting chance?

At the time of the final battle will the Chosen One have the power to stop the oncoming evil or will it be too late?

|  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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Kiera’s Quest, as a whole for me, has become one of those series that started well and got better and better with each part.

Zakk has been searching for Kiera for over a year and while key people think it’s time he gave up, he wants to give it one more try.  Hayley (Nurse Bell) is in the cells.  She surprised me twice in Choices!  I love it when a character does this.  My opinion of her changed completely and I loved her for what she did.

With her memory lost, Keira has been healed and taken into the community of the Ovads.  Nova is the leader of this peaceful race and tries to find out more about which race Kiera is and where she has come from.

On Earth, Kiera’s friends and family are devastated.  They are setting up their own army to be ready for when the vortex opens.  Maddison and Chloe are in conflict which adds tension to this already fraught group.

More excellent world-building with the Ovads. Alongside the Ovads, the races we’ve met before have an integral part to play as the conflict all comes together and Keira comes into her power.

Keira is strong in Choices (but she still has her caring nature).  I loved her disobeying Zakk.  Mason (one of the Hershen’s) takes on more than the role of training her.  Instead of making Keira weak, I felt it made her even stronger and allowed her to tap into her power.

What an awesome final battle! So fast paced.  I just couldn’t put my Kindle down.

Lots of resolutions in Choices and even though this is the last book in the series, I still think there’s an opening for more (disappointed not to be attending the wedding in six months time!) I would love to see more action with Kiera’s power as I feel she is only just beginning to explore what she can do.  What happens in Zakk’s kingdom? What about his future children? What will happen to Zantar? How about those taken away to be healed? Will they live or are their injuries fatal? You see how much I’ve become involved with this series 🙂

I know Kristy is working on her next novel which is a YA.  I can’t wait to see where she will take her readers next!

You can read my reviews of Awakenings, Sacrifices and Perceptions here.

This series is targeted at a tween audience but if you love magic and fantasy, I highly recommend, no matter your age.

4 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Kiera’s Quest has a Facebook page.  The author tweets @kierasquest and you can connect with Kristy Brown on her Facebook author page

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Jera’s Jamboree review : Dancing in the Rain by Amanda James

dancing in the rainFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 1032 KB

Print Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Choc Lit Lite (5 Mar 2014)

ASIN: B00IU0TGDO

 

What if the responsibility for preventing a major disaster lay with you?
Jacob Weston has felt like he doesn’t belong for as long as he can remember and the strangely vivid dreams he experiences only serve to make him feel more alone …
But when his job in research science takes him thousands of miles away from what he thought of as home, Jacob finds the mystery of his past begin to unravel. A trip to the breathtaking Monument Valley and an extraordinary encounter with a Navajo guide seem to hold the key to who Jacob really is.
After meeting the beautiful Rosenya Neboyia, Jacob feels he may have found what he’d been searching for. But with this meeting is the discovery that his dreams come with a responsibility, and that responsibility is bigger and scarier than he could have ever imagined …

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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In April 1977 we find out how Jacob came to be in the care of Aggie and Ernest Weston.  After 4 stillbirths and at the age of 44, Aggie sees her act as a rescue.

We pick up with Jacob’s life in his mid-thirties.  He’s feeling dissatisfied with life and has a sense of foreboding.

Josiah’s visions of being guided to fight to contribute to the future of the Navajo nation take us back to 1940.

Narrated in alternating chapters in present day with Jacob and in the past with Josiah, we find out the task Jacob needs to undertake to prevent the major disaster.

The company that Jacob and best friend/colleague Greg works for, moves them to the US to work on a project.  Jacob’s gut feelings about the company building and Zak (who is leading the project) prove to be very accurate.  The team they’re working with provide plenty of conflict and hidden agendas. Jacob and Greg have a true friendship that shows when they’re living together in the US (who cooks and who cleans! and being able to express their grumpiness) and putting the other first when it really matters.  Greg is a fabulous character and deserves to find his own HEA.

I loved the mysticism (and the history) linked with the Navajo people and how the visions motivate Jacob, moving him in directions he would never have chosen for himself.  Got to love a hero who listens to his intuition and instincts 🙂

Meeting new people in Monument Valley and the link they have with Jacob added even more depth to the plot and with Rosenya being one of those people, alongside the attraction is more conflict.  It was fabulous to see Jacob becoming engaged with his emotions instead of shutting himself off.

The suspense leading up to the climax is really well-paced.  I felt myself tensing as the time ticked past and couldn’t see a way out hoping that no-one was going to die …

The ending was perfect.  So fitting with the spirituality of the plot.

Dancing in the Rain is such an apt title!  With the history/culture, romance, spirit and suspense, I recommend Dancing in the Rain to romance readers who are looking to be entertained and wanting a story that is  just that little bit different.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Amanda’s blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter – @akjames61

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

Jera’s Jamboree review : The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

no kids clubFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3632 KB

Print Length: 253 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477822925

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (3 Jun 2014)

ASIN: B00H8AP1VI

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon AudiobookGoodreads  |

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It’s clear how Clare feels about having children from the intimate scene with boyfriend Edward – and with best friend Ellie 7 ½ months pregnant and attending all types of clubs for pregnant mums, the idea of the No-Kids Club takes shape at Ellie’s baby shower.  She is determined to meet people without children in their lives.

Anna and Poppy are the first women to attend the meet up and for very different reasons.

Talli Roland’s writing always just flows so it was easy to become involved in our three women’s lives.  Clare thinking she knows what she wants, Anna losing herself in her relationship and Poppy obsessed to such a degree that she can’t feel/see anything else.

I have to admit squirming while Clare was on live TV talking about how she feels not wanting children … dressed from wardrobe in clothes that just weren’t her and giving the wrong idea to the viewing public.  It did give the No-Kids Club a high profile though!

I’ve enjoyed getting caught up in the character’s lives with the drama and conflict – wanting to shake Michael because he just might lose everything he takes for granted, tell Nicholas to own up, shout at Poppy that she’s going to lose everything with her lies and give Clare a hug while saying she is missing a vital link in how she feels.

The No-Kids Club tackles the subject of fertility/infertility and societal expectations brilliantly.  Talli Roland shows us those tangles of emotions and misunderstandings through our characters with such realism and sensitivity.

Another great Talli Roland novel and I recommend for all romance readers.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for pre-approval via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author Website

Author Blog 

Twitter @TalliRoland

Facebook Author Page

Jera’s Jamboree : Locks Blog Tour ~ Rapunzel Unhinged ~ Author Interview

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JJ is delighted to welcome Sarah J Pepper to the blog today, hosted by Neverland Blog Tours.

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I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn’t only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn’t always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn’t mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?

www.twitter.com/sarahjpepper

www.sarahjpepper.com

www.facebook.com/sarahjpepper.author

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762464.Sarah_J_Pepper?from_search=true

www.goodreads.com/book/show/21527375-locks

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/locks-sarah-j-pepper/1119628809?ean=2940045968096

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Hi Sarah,

Welcome!

Please summarise Rapunzel Unhinged in 20 words or less.

 Rapunzel went badass and got overhauled with a wicked hair dye job. Her white knight is anything but charming and is gun-crazy. Love be damned if these two actually find their “Happily Ever After.”

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use?

With fairytales I try to follow the original story as much as possible. Now, my characters tend to hijack the story in places so it’s a general overview. Internet is my friend, and since everything online is true, I’m positive my stories are spot on 😉

Who designs your book covers?

Josh Wilocoxon is my photographer, and if you have a chance to check out his work, I’d got for it. His fine arts selection is mind-blowing.

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?

I create new characters when there is a need of a “plot twist.” And since my plots are twisty, I tend to have several secondary characters. However, here are my bio’s for Rapunzel and Flynn

Rapunzel’s Bio:

Name: Rapunzel

Alias: Zel, a Theurgist, Master of Remedy

Career: Socialite

Physical Characteristics: Signature hair and Brand Mark on skull

Significant Attributes: Dauntless

Affiliations: Iconoclast Rebels

Voted most likely to: Suffer a “tragic” accident

promo photo

Flynn’s Bio:

Name: Flynn

Alias: The Mercenary

Career: Hit man

Physical Characteristics: Tattooed-covered-body (yes, everywhere ladies)

Significant Attributes: Schemer

Affiliations: Unknown

Voted most likely to: Kill you

 

Are you a panster or a plotter?

plotter–lol, yeah right. Anytime I try to follow and outline my characters scoff at me and plot their own ending.

If your book is part of a series, what is in the future?

Locks is part of a fairytale collection, but not a series.

What is your WIP?

lol, which one. I have to finish the Fate Trilogy, and Tinkerbell is having a love affair with Captain Hook in another story of mine. I’m also working on this novella series about soul hunters and I keep picturing this Snow White diddy in my imagination…. so yeah, I guess I have a few WIP.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

Confession: Twilight.

What are you reading now? Opinion?

Just finished The Immortal Circus (Great Faerie novel) and Cress (YA fairy tale) Both were GREAT!!!

Being a writer can be lonely.  Do you have a support network?

I have too many characters in my head bugging at me, I’m rarely lonely. I also make it a point to keep an active lifestyle outside my “book work.” It can easily overtake your life, so I make sure I have a healthy balance….. one year I have 5 books come out. Yes, I was a wee bit stressed.

Who is your targetted audience?  Have you written for other genres or plan to in the future?

This novel is New Adult, but I write YA and Adult as well.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

 Metaphorically bubble-wrap yourself. you are going to get bad reviews, hate mail, negativity, etc…. be prepared!!

 Wishing you success with all your writing projects Sarah!

finalcoverGunned down by the hottest killer in the history of the Badass Archives wasn’t exactly Rapunzel’s end-game. But when her reputable extraction skills fail, she uses unorthodox methods to gain her freedom from the Mercenary, whose icy blue eyes have serious panty-dropping capabilities. Even though most girls wouldn’t fall for their would-be assassin, Rapunzel isn’t like most dames. Her major girl-boner for the Mercenary is so pathetically intense it verges on cliché.

Regardless, Rapunzel’s hands are tied. Love chooses its victims, not the other way around. She isn’t the stereotypical Damsel in Distress. Her Bad-Boy Prince Charming is a renowned mercenary, and her “Happy Ending” plays out like a bad movie. However, she is determined to find her freedom—love be damned—and she’ll do it in a fabulous pair of heels.

Follow the tour!

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Jera’s Jamboree : Review Someone Else’s Wedding by Tamar Cohen

Someone elses weddingPaperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Black Swan (22 May 2014)

ISBN-10: 0552779326

ISBN-13: 978-0552779326

Format: Kindle Edition

ASIN: B00CJEG0J0

 

Mr & Mrs Max Irving request the company of:

Mrs Fran Friedman, mourning her empty nest, the galloping years and a disastrous haircut.

Mr Saul Friedman, runner of marathons, and increasingly distant husband.

The two Misses Friedman, Pip and Katy, one pining over the man she can’t have, the other trying to shake off the man she no longer wants.

At the marriage of their son James, forbidden object of troubling desire. For thirty-six hours of secrets and lies, painted-on-smiles and potential ruin. And drinks, plenty of drinks.

There’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past. As Fran negotiates her way from Saturday morning to Sunday evening she is forced to confront things she’s long thought buried, and to make decisions about the future that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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From the moment that Fran wakes alone in the hotel room to that final page, we’re taken through those hours, from 8am Saturday to 7pm Sunday with the undertow of emotions colouring interactions.

With Saul and Fran appearing to be opposites, I wondered what had first attracted them to each other.  Saul is pedantic and routine led whereas Fran seems to just flow.  When we understand Fran more from her experiences as a child and then teen, it’s obvious the pull Saul had for her.

There is one thing that obsesses Fran and the real reason why is cleverly concealed from the reader.  The emotions between two of the characters felt illicit and not quite right – this made me feel uneasy as I couldn’t work out what the undertow was about.  I love it when I can’t work it out!  When we find out it makes perfect sense to have tangled emotions…

The backstory is shared by Fran reflecting at key points in the story and one specific scene was heart breaking.  I cried so much I had to put my Kindle down …

I always think that a 1st person narrative works really well for intimacy and looking below the surface.  Fran is a master at observations, reading body language and connotations.  I always enjoy a story that exposes underlying thoughts and lays those emotions bare.  I found it really easy to identify with Fran and so thought she was a fabulous main character.

Here’s an example of Fran’s observation:

“She’s gone back to the bright, social voice I remember from yesterday’s reception, painting it on top of her real voice like varnish.”

I love Tamar Cohen’s writing style too 🙂

Fran, husband Saul and daughters Pip and Katy circle around each other with their secrets and hurts set amongst the backdrop of a British wedding (uncomfortable clothes and shoes, over-drinking, overeating and over-reacting).

Someone Else’s Wedding is an interesting and intriguing story, with past events coming to light and past emotions laid bare for healing to take place.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for approving my request to review via Netgalley.

Twitter @MsTamarCohen

Facebook Author Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Learning to LoveFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 606 KB

Print Length: 296 pages

Publisher: Safkhet Soul (18 July 2013)

ASIN: B00E1LPEVO

 

Widower, Dr David Adams, has recently moved to the village – where no one knows him, ergo there’s no fuel for neighbourhood gossip – to start afresh with his ten year old son, if only he can get to a place where his son wants to speak to him. Angry and withdrawn, Jake blames his dad for the death of his mother, and David doesn’t know how to reach him.

Andrea Kelly has too many balls in the air. With three children and a “nuts” mother to care for, her fiancé can’t fathom why she wants to throw something else into the mix and change her career. Surely she already has too much on her plate? Because her plates are skew-whiff and her balls are dropping off all over the place, Andrea points out. She needs to make changes. Still her fiancé, who has a hidden agenda, is dead-set against it.

When Andrea’s house burns mysteriously to the ground and Andrea and her entourage are forced to move in with the enigmatic Dr Adams, however, the village drums soon start beating, fuel aplenty when it turns out someone does know him – the woman carrying his baby.

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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We’re introduced to David and son Jake on their first night together.  Their relationship needs re-building and he realises he doesn’t know his son at all.  This is a fresh start for them.

Andrea lives opposite and we’re introduced to her chaotic family life as she is arguing with fiancée Jonathan.  They arrange to meet that night but Andrea is left waiting as he doesn’t arrive.  Approaching home she realises it’s her house on fire and is gripped with utter terror and panic.  This is so vivid I felt the despair and could almost smell the smoke!  With no sign of Jonathan, David steps up and offers his home as a sanctuary.

I love it when a character changes from that first impression.  It didn’t take me too long to start to change my mind about Jonathan … Sheryl Browne plants that seed of doubt.  The more I got to know Jonathan, the more I was sure about my suspicions.

The teenagers were brilliantly portrayed with their angst and their slang language.  It was great to see the positive effect the families had on each other after David took Andrea and her brood in. I particularly loved how Ryan affected Jake and how that impacted on his relationship with his dad.

The confrontation itself was very tense (it’s not a romantic confrontation).  I wasn’t sure which way things were going to go.  I loved that I wasn’t sure of the outcome!  As my heart was pounding I was thinking … would there be a death?  Would there be more hearbreak?

Grief and the emptiness of loss is explored sensitively and with realism both for GP David and his son Jake but also with Andrea’s friend Sally.  I really felt their emotions and could understand why they chose the actions they did.

The romance also brought a conflict of emotions. The children’s well-being was put first and I loved these characters for doing this.

Learning to Love is fast paced and engaging.  Not only does the romance sizzle but we see family life in all its shades of grey sprinkled with humour and sadness … and there is an element of suspense and fear.  What a combination!

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for providing an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

Website

Twitter @SherylBrowne

Author Facebook Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : The Alone Alternative by Linda MacDonald

the alone alternativePaperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Matador (28 Jun 2014)
ISBN-10: 1783064331
ISBN-13: 978-1783064335

Former classmates Edward and Marianne, now fifty-five, have experienced a turbulent few years having lost contact with each other and suffered painful disruption to their home lives. Reunited again, this time through Twitter, they set about a search for personal fulfilment, but once again there are obstacles in the way – not least in the form of twice-widowed Jessica, Edward’s neighbour, who threatens to destroy their pursuit of happiness and whose behaviour has alarming consequences. The extraordinary weather conditions prompt Edward and a former colleague to resurrect an idea for a documentary series that sets to challenge consumerist lifestyles. The Isles of Scilly become a model for sustainability and a filming trip to the islands provides an idyllic backdrop to the unfolding romantic tensions. Set in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the action alternates between Broadclyst and Beckenham and examines the difficult issues faced in committing to a new relationship in midlife. Could being alone be a preferable alternative? Continuing themes of psychology, relationships and environmental sustainability, The Alone Alternative is the sequel to A Meeting of a Different Kind and the third and final part of the ‘Lydia’ series. Written from both male and female perspectives, it also stands alone as a fascinating read for both men and women who enjoy thought-provoking fiction, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

|  Amazon Paperback  |

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Meeting Lydia (2011) and A Meeting of a Different Kind (2012) were ‘keepers’ for me so of course, when I was offered the chance to read The Alone Alternative I jumped at the chance!

Although each novel can be read as a stand-alone, I would suggest starting with Meeting Lydia as I have become invested emotionally with the characters through each stage – especially Marianne!

As the title suggests, for different reasons, Edward and Marianne find themselves without their partners.  I felt Marianne’s pain in my bones and Edward, well Edward follows through with his academia type personality and although he isn’t totally alone as daughter Harriet is still with him,   he is stunned.  His closest widowed neighbour Jessica (and a friend of Felicity’s) takes an interest in him.  Edward, naïve and not one for confrontations, doesn’t see the possibility of what may happen.  One particular conflict had me in tears.

Edward and Marianne had lost contact.  Through the use of social media they slowly re-build their friendship.  Mari is so very vulnerable and insecure.

One song played on repeat in my mind that I think is relevant:

With Marianne on the verge or retiring, she becomes involved in Edward’s sustainability project that has been revived.  Once again, it is obvious that MacDonald knows her topic about ecology and economy.  Some emotional scenes are played out on the Isles of Scilly where filming takes place …

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MacDonald tackles another social issue in The Alone Alternative and uses the AS level students in Mari’s psychology class to ‘show the reader’.  I love how she uses this in connection to the incidents.

Ironically, Taryn has a role assigned to her in the story that surprised me but I have to say I loved this!

Mari is true to form with her over-analysing although we do see a change and see her becoming more relaxed and accepting of situations.

How does it end?  You’ll have to read it to find out …

The Alone Alternative for me is about two people in their mid-50’s who have to make changes in their lives due to circumstances beyond their control.  It’s about the vulnerability and insecurity of how and when to make those changes needed … dealing with thoughts and emotions on how, at this stage in your life, you can still make a contribution to the world, to your own personal sphere AND be effective.  MacDonald portrays all of these emotions with realism and sincerity.  I shall miss Mari!

Buy it but be loathe to share your copy ... it's a keeper!

Buy it but be loathe to share your copy … it’s a keeper!

 

I would like to thank the author for organising a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

Twitter @LindaMac1

Lydia’s Facebook Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

thirteen weddingsFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 555 KB

Print Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (22 May 2014)

ASIN: B00EBA5ONS

 

Sometimes you have to step out of the light to see clearly again…

Bronte never expected to see Alex after their one night together, but she never stopped thinking of him. So when she arrives at work one day to find that Alex is a new colleague, she is secretly thrilled. The only problem is that Alex is now engaged to Zara, the girl he was on a break from the night they met.

Determined to move on with life, Bronte becomes a part-time wedding photographer, alongside her day job. Surrounded by loving couples, warring couples, tearful bridesmaids, mischievous pageboys and interfering mothers-in-law, she tries to navigate her way through wedding after wedding while her heart is being torn apart.

As Alex’s own wedding day draws ever nearer, Bronte and Alex’s chemistry becomes harder to ignore, and Bronte must decide whether to fight for the man she loves, or to let him go forever.

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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Thirteen Weddings is a fabulous read!  From the first, when Bronte is at Polly’s hen night and first meets Alex, through to that final page I was totally engaged.

I hated Alex for freezing Bronte out when he first takes over the position of Art Director at the same magazine.  She was having a hard enough time with Nicky and Helen, especially when she gets the scoop … she could have done without Alex acting up!  The connection between them felt so real though it was easy to feel the mixed up emotions and feel unsettled by them.

When we meet Lachie singing at a wedding in Scotland, I believed he was that guy who breaks hearts and doesn’t settle.  Loved the subtle undercurrent between him and Alex!  I wasn’t sure who I wanted Bronte to be with …

I was intrigued about Bronte’s adverse reaction to churches.  With her assisting Rachel with the wedding photography there are plenty of times for Bronte to confront that fear.  Where did that phobia come from?  I had to keep turning those pages to find out.

I loved that Bridget is back (The Longest Holiday).  She is such a fabulous character 🙂 She’s a great friend to Bronte, sharing her flat and being there when Bronte needs her most.

I read Thirteen Weddings over a weekend because I couldn’t put it down … and found it strange to be back in my life from the Monday!  The weddings themselves, Bronte’s job and colleagues, her friends with their own crises and of course the men! all come together to make this another keeper for me.

4 owl rating

 

I would like to thank the publishers for accepting my request to review via Netgalley.

You can visit Paige Toon’s website, find her on Facebook  and tweet (@PaigeToonAuthor) with her.

Jera’s Jamboree review : The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson

unfinished symphonyPaperback: 496 pages

Publisher: Penguin (19 Jun 2014)

Language: Unknown

ISBN-10: 1405911581

ISBN-13: 978-1405911580

 

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson, author of A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger, is a wonderfully witty and gorgeously romantic story of facing your fears and falling in love.

Sally is an incredible singer but she sings only in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her. She’d rather join a nudist colony than sing in public.

That is until she ventures to New York where a wild and heady summer of love and loss changes her forever. No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfill a promise she cannot break – to share her voice.

But just as she’s about to embark on her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally’s doorstep bearing a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.

How did he find her? Why is he here? Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York? And, with him back on the scene, will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?

Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads |

♫•*¨*♥ Happy Publication Day ♥*¨*•♫

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I have to be honest right from the beginning and say I LOVED The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me.  My review just won’t be able to do the story justice …

Firstly, the format was great.  If you read my reviews you will know how much I enjoy a timeline that goes back to the past and then present time, allowing the reader to know just enough to be curious to find out how our characters arrived at the position they’re in now.  Robinson titles the chapter with ‘scenes’ and ‘acts’ in keeping with opera which I thought gave it that added extra!

So … the story begins with an overture.  It’s the day before Sally starts her post-grad opera diploma.  The visitor at her front door is intriguing – who is he and what happened in New York?

Act One Scene One gives the reader background on her Sally’s childhood and sets the scene for her love of opera (and her fear!).

As the story builds and connects in both timelines, I was fascinated watching Sally’s operatic journey just as much as her romantic life.  I thought she was a fabulous lead.  The reader really gets to feel her fear about singing, identify with her mothering instincts towards Fiona as well as feel indignant about J!

While I’m talking about characters I just have to say I ADORED Jan Borsos.  He is so vibrant.  His energy and zest for life literally bounces off the pages … refreshingly too that Sally’s relationship with him worked even while J was there in the background.  The first time she stays with him is hilarious!

The underlying theme of the opera and the training drew me in.  It’s obvious that Robinson has researched and at the end of the story in my proof copy, we find out the hard work she put into the research.

With family issues to resolve, conflict with Sally’s love life, her phobia of singing in public to overcome and bereavement/addiction … there are plenty of emotive scenes besides the humour.  I found myself laughing as much as crying.

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me is romance at its best.  If you’re a romance reader, you must add it to your list!

4 owl rating

I read The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me as part of the Real Reader programme.  I would like to thank them for sending me a limited edition proof in exchange for an honest review.

Watch out for tomorrow’s post for an opportunity for UK readers to win a paperback copy!

You can find out more about Lucy Robinson on her website, follow her tweets @lucy_robinson or ‘like’ her author Facebook page.

Jera’s Jamboree review : Written in the Stars by Ali Harris

written in the starsFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 541 KB

Print Length: 464 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (5 Jun 2014)

ASIN: B00EA8YWA2

 

Have you ever wondered ‘What if…?’ What if you’d taken that other job, gone on a date with that sweet guy, moved to a different city? Would an alternative life path have led to a happier ending?
Now imagine if you could have taken both paths…
When Bea Bishop slips while walking down the aisle on her wedding day, she is momentarily knocked unconscious. And in a flash, her world splits and two separate parallel lives take her on two very different journeys. In one, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other, she glides blissfully towards Adam, her intended.
Each path will take her on a very different journey. And each will see her life change for better and for worse. But which story will lead to her happy-ever-after?

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So many things to love about Written in the Stars and such a clever and creative concept!

Two different realities but with similar people and events entering Bea’s life in different ways.

I loved the diary entries at the start of each month with their literal meaning and another psychological layer underneath.  The FB status updates were not only relevant to where we were in the story but were also a clever way to keep us on track with the two different realities.

In one reality the incident in Bea’s past that has made her fearful of commitment is a prominent theme.  The intrigue is that we don’t know what although we do know who is involved.

In another reality, the incident that made her fearful is still present but her fear of commitment has come from abandonment of a parent.

Bea doesn’t meet her own needs, being what she thinks others want her to be, scared of making decisions.  I love to watch a character grow and Bea does exactly that as she gains confidence in making her own choices.  Bea is a fabulous main character and I ADORE her mum Loni. She’s a treasure 🙂

The two male leads are totally opposite to each other in background and personality.  One is coming to terms with his guilt and the other breaking free from familial expectations and responsibilities.

The secondary characters are also fabulous.  Playing a role in each timeline, although different, they add depth.  For example Bea and her gardening degree/Cosmos Flowers.

I couldn’t wait to see how the story ended. Would it end how I wanted it to? How were the different timelines going to be brought back together?  I wasn’t disappointed.  It all made sense and was perfect 🙂

Written in the Stars tells us that we should trust in the decisions and choices that we make.  That no matter those decisions, even if others think they are wrong, we will be ultimately be led to where we are meant to be.

Ali Harris is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.  She delivers every time. Each story is different and Harris’ writing has the power to draw me in totally.  Each novel has been a keeper for me …  Miracle on Regent Street (2011), The First Last Kiss (2013), A Vintage Christmas (2013) and now Written in the Stars.
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I highly recommend Ali Harris (and if you’re a romance readers and haven’t read any of Ali Harris’ novels yet, you should be reading her backlist!).

You can find out more about Ali Harris by visiting her website.   The author tweets @aliharriswriter and you can find her on Facebook.

I would like to thank the publishers for approving my request via Netgalley.