Turbulent love

‘I Found You’ – Jane Lark

4-star-rating

Image courtesy of goodreads.com

I Found You – Jane Lark

On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason’s lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She’s running from life, he’s running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her. 

His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There’s his fiancée back home in Oregon and a family who just don’t trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks. 

But when the connection between them is so electric, so right… everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there’s nothing but the possibility of what could be – of this, right here, right now.

A romance novel that makes you howl at characters for being so misinformed, ‘I Found You’ from Jane Lark is an enjoyable dual narrative that gives you lots of insight into the two main characters, Rachel and Jason.

This dual narrative is different to what I have read before and really forces you to focus on the character and their feelings. The switch in narrative happens in “real time”; by that I mean the point of view switches immediately after a character has spoken or acted so we can an instantly see how this action is viewed and interpreted. At first I found it a little confusing to keep up with and to start with I did re-read sections to check who was narrating. However, as the story developed I found myself yearning to learn the internal monologue of Jason or Rachel and felt relief when I was given this update. I think this switch in narrative works really well, particularly with the emotional baggage both characters have in their past, and this made ‘I Found You’ different for me compared to other romance novels.

The poor judgements that Rachel and Jason experience when they visit his family at Christmas made my blood boil! I think it was because of this dual narrative that I felt I really knew these characters and so when Jason’s family and his old friends back home really give him and Rachel a hard time over their relationship and how quickly things were moving, I felt really frustrated. The narrow-mindedness came across as a realistic struggle this couple were facing, but I did feel that the sudden change in attitude from Jason’s family was just a bit too soon. Yes, I understood that it was linked to what Jason had told his mum and dad that convinced them about his relationship with Rachel, but I did feel there could have been more of a gradual “defrosting” from his parents.

I found that Rachel’s troubled background gave the story more depth, particularly with the health issues that Lark begins to explore. I found it interesting how Jason reacts to this and found it sweet that they were still going to take on the world together. Their lives change so dramatically from first meeting one another that by the end of the story, I really did feel that they could take on anything.

This is a good, enjoyable read with a satisfying ending. If the change in attitude from Jason’s parents had been a bit more gradual but without the story losing its pace, then I think I could have easily given this story five stars. It reaffirms true romance in the world and I thought Jason and Rachel were such a sweet couple. My only criticism is that I wish Lark had revealed the name at the end! Without wanting to give too much away about the plot, so much was hinted at in the Epilogue, that I was expecting this to be revealed. *Sigh* I guess I will have to read the next novel in the series to find out more. A small detail but I was so curious to learn what this was!

A great read for all of you who enjoy romance novels.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Click the links below to get yourself a copy of the novel, on offer at only $1.99 until Monday 31st March 2014:

Amazon / B&N

A naughty but devoted hero

‘Lover, Divine’ – A. Star

3-star-rating

Lover, Divine - A. Star

Lover, Divine – A. Star

Born into one of the wealthiest families in Ireland, Siobhan Law has status, privilege, and a secret: The Greek gods of Olympus and their kingdom in the clouds are real, and her family acts as one of their agents on Earth.

When the beautiful immortal celeste Liam Argyros shows up claiming to have come to Earth to deal in the affairs of the divine, Siobhan finds herself unable to resist his charms. New to the game of passion and seduction, she quickly ends up in over her head, sinking deeper with every attempt Liam makes to win her over.

But Liam’s divine mission is far more complex than she ever imagined and nothing is truly as it seems. Because Liam has a secret of his own: He is Apollo, Olympian god of the Sun, and his mission will never be complete until he has claimed Siobhan’s heart forever.

Goodreads

About the author:

A. Star

A. Star

A. Star is a fan of dirty passion. She likes to read it, and she damn sure likes to write it. Her first adult romance/fantasy novella is called Invasion, an alien romance about sacrifice. Lover, Divine is the first release from the Mythos: Gods and Lovers series. Future releases under A. Star include, King, Desired (Mythos: Gods and Lovers #2), the Love & Steampunk series, the Purr, Inc. stories, and more.

Author links:

Facebook / Twitter / Web / Goodreads

Review:

The first in a series, this offering from A. Star a different plot combining love and fantasy. I don’t know much about Greek gods and I think this is where I faltered a little in truly appreciating the story, but did find Liam/Apollo’s devotion to Siobhan quite sweet.

I found Lover, Divine a quick and straight-forward read. I liked how Siobhan tried to resist Liam/Apollo’s charms for as long as possible but could predict that this wasn’t going to be forever. Set in Ireland, the author attempts to recreate the Irish accent through punctuation and emissions and I found this made the book more enjoyable to read. Indeed, Ireland was certainly not an expected setting for a story featuring Greek Gods and I wished that the author had made more of this setting.

The story has a lot of background that I was really hoping would be covered to truly explain Siobhan’s family history, the Greek gods and the terrible future that is to come. However, this only featured towards the end of the story and though I was grateful for this explanation, felt it would have worked earlier on in the story so that I could really appreciate the story and its characters.

There are quite a few naughty sex scenes in this story and this isn’t something I usually enjoy reading. However, this does largely feature in the plot development, so if you are planning on reading Lover, Divine and do blush easily, you might want to think twice before picking this up.

All in all I found this an easy read and quite enjoyable. I am curious to know what happens next to the characters and hope there is less emphasis on the love scenes. The focus on Greek gods was unusual and I think that this makes it stand out from other romance novels that are out there. It is intriguing to know what happens next to Siobhan and Liam/Apollo.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway:

The writer, A. Star, is giving away three signed print copies of ‘Lover Divine’ and a swag-bag. This an international give-away and closes on 14th April 2014. Click here to enter. Good luck!

Click the links below to get yourself a copy of the novel, only $.99 between 17th – 22nd March:

Amazon / B&N

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Baking love!

‘My Cup of Tea’ – Kat Leiu

5-star-rating

My Cup of Tea - Kat Lieu

My Cup of Tea – Kat Lieu

It’s another suck-tastic summer for book nerd and baker, Sara Lee-Affen. She’s broke, she’s single, and she’ll probably die a virgin. At her beautiful cousin’s wedding, Sara meets a sexy and delicious stud muffin, Ian Forrests. He’s totally her cup of tea, that is until he laughs at her misery when a bee burrows into her ear. Yes, a dang bee. She’s dying (well not really) as he’s dying from laughter.

What a jerk. A smoking hot, Adonis of a jerk with strikingly green eyes, dark hair, and drool-worthy pecs and eight-pack abs. As luck and fate would have it, Sara keeps bumping into Ian all summer long and ends up working for him as a pastry chef at his failing bakery. Despite her better judgement, Sara falls for the sexy, bad-ass rich boy. She discovers the truth about Ian: he’s a tortured soul who’s still pining for his deceased girlfriend, Sarah. One look at Sarah’s picture and poor Sara knows that she could never compete. She could never be Ian’s cup of tea. 

Or could she? 

Goodreads

About the author:

Kat Lieu

Kat Lieu

Kat read her first book (a picture book) while potty training at the age of one and half. Reading became an addiction and a must during subsequent potty sessions. Writing as a passion soon followed when Kat was in the fifth grade. She drew a picture storybook, hand-stitched the pages together, and presented it to a class of second graders. The children loved hearing Kat’s story and that cemented Kat’s love for writing.

Kat wrote ‘My Cup of Tea, Summer of Love’ during maternity leave. While caring for her newborn, Kat sacrificed nap time and much needed rest in order to write. When her baby slept, she quickly typed away, ignoring carpal tunnel. Now Kat works full-time by day. By night, she’s a dedicated mommy and a writer. She hopes to be able to spend more time with her son, Philly Cheese Steak, and write for a living in the near future.

Dreams do come true, when you believe in them and work hard. Many of Kat’s dreams have come true and she wishes the same for all her fans and readers.

Kat is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. She also runs a tween/teen empire, Nummyz Productions. Nummyz Productions creates original Flash games for girls and provides them with a safe community, love advice, free stories, and support. Nummyz Productions publishes books and e-books. Kat’s company has also created websites for celebrities of The Young and the Restless (Kate Linder) and Flash games for multi-million dollar company LittleMissMatched.

Author links:

Facebook / Twitter / Web / Goodreads / Amazon

‘Maid for Me’ book trailer

Review:

So… this review might be slightly biased because this novella by Kat Lieu has two of my favourite things: an innocent ‘girl meets boy’ love story and baking/running a bakery. This is my own personal dream and I loved how this featured in the story.

‘My Cup of Tea’ is an easy-going romance with the added sweetness of desserts. The love story between Sara and Ian is a little predictable but I think this just added to my enjoyment of the story.  However,  Lieu does do something different to her contemporaries by switching the first person narrative between Sara and Ian each chapter. It was sweet to see how their feelings towards one another develop and even more so the fact that they had such similar opinions without realising it.

What did surprise me was how young Sara is. At 18, I guess I was expecting to read a romance about a girl who is slightly older,  but then I guess Lieu here is trying to appeal to a younger audience. Another surprise for me was how much I enjoyed this novella. I have not had much luck with novellas in the past and whilst this was a quick read, it felt “just right”. What I mean by that is the characters or plot didn’t need more development,  so it didn’t come across as rushed.  I didn’t feel bored reading it and actually felt quite sad when I got to the end! That being said, I am reluctant to consider this as a ‘comedy’ because I didn’t find any of the plot funny but more of a piece of young romance fiction.

The tension that exists between Sara and Ian were unusual. With Ian’s dead ex-girlfriend also called Sarah (note the added “h”) and whom the bakery was started by, his difficulty in moving on made me feel quite sorry for Sara, particularly with the closing scene. It is as if there are three people in the relationship and readers are left wondering how Ian can move on. Whilst Sara does try her best to remain detached from Ian, circumstances throw them together and despite his hang-ups, left me wanting to see them have a happy ending. However, as this is the first part of the story, we are left not knowing what happens with their relationship.

As an avid baker,  I really enjoyed the glimpses Lieu provided to the desserts made at the bakery. Whether intentional or not,  I felt really inspired to whip up Sara’s cakes in the kitchen and I think it is a shame Lieu did not provide the recipes at the end of the story. Still,  even I know you can’t have it all!

I really enjoyed this novella and am keen to read the follow-up story.  It is a sweet love story and I was left hoping Sara would not be taken for a ride. I really hope I get the opportunity to review ‘My Cup of Tea,  too’.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway:

The writer, Kat Lieu, is giving away four eBook copies of ‘Maid for Me’ and one print copy at each stop of her blog tour. This give-away is open to USA residents only. Make sure to follow the tour and enter at every stop by leaving a comment with a valid email address. Winners will be randomly selected by the author after the tour is over!

Excerpt from the novel:

A minute ago, when I noticed someone approaching me, I couldn’t help but ogle at perfectly-formed man pecs and a tapered waist sporting well-defined washboard abs. Droplets of water glisten on his tan skin. Said tan skin belongs to a guy, a hot guy walking toward me. Water from the pool drips off his dark hair. His lean and muscular legs are made for running. His blue swim trunks, wet and plastered to his skin, leaves little to my imagination. I gulped. I felt his eyes on me, all hot and smoldering. Having a feeling that a handsome face goes along with his hot bod, my eyes traveled upward to confirm my theory.

Sharp features. Chiseled jawline. Straight nose with two nostrils that are perfectly shaped and sized. Cellophane forest-green eyes filled with intelligence. Hot…

But too bad it’s him, that jerk from Millie’s wedding.

Click the link to get yourself a copy of the novel.

my cup of tea banner (1)To follow the tour of ‘My Cup of Tea’ by Kat Lieu, please click here.

Immerse yourself into a weirdly wonderful recovery love story‏

‘The Gargoyle’ – Andrew Davidson

Image courtesy of dooyoo.co.uk

The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

A young man is fighting for his life. Into his room walks a bewitching woman who believes she can save him. Their journey will have you believing in the impossible. The nameless and beautiful narrator of The Gargoyle is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and wakes up in a burns ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned. His life is over – he is now a monster. But in fact it is only just beginning. One day, Marianne Engel, a wild and compelling sculptress of gargoyles, enters his life and tells him that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly burned mercenary and she was a nun and a scribe who nursed him back to health in the famed monastery of Engelthal. As she spins her tale, Scheherazade fashion, and relates equally mesmerising stories of deathless love in Japan, Greenland, Italy and England, he finds himself drawn back to life – and, finally, to love.

I don’t think I could sum it up any better. Trust me, the book just sucks you in from the beginning and before you know it,  an hour has passed, and you’re already well into the story. Whether it is because of the intriguing first person narrative or the structure of the chapters which are in relatively short sections, once you get started you find yourself wanting to read on more and more.

This writer has definitely done his research into German history, religion and burns victims and mental disorders. It comes across as such a convincing tale yet so fantastical at the same time that the different plots just draw you in. The writer cleverly shifts between present day and Marianne’s 14th century tale, interspersed with wonderful love stories that just remove you from the weirdness that the book has running through it.

I’ve mentioned the ‘weird’ of this novel a couple of times now, let me elaborate a bit further. For starters,  the narrator is quite graphic,  both about his personal life and his sufferings from the accident. The descriptions in the opening of the novel are just something else and it is this style that catches your breath throughout. Secondly, it is difficult not to forget that the narrator is, basically,  a drug addict. So as the story progresses, you are always wondering whether this tale is a product of his morphine-induced hallucinations (which,  incidentally,  are not played upon by the writer). Finally,  because the development of the plot is so unusual and removed,  you are left sincerely believing that Marianne’s tale is true.

I was gripped right from the beginning and it didn’t take me long to absorb the story. Yes, it is quite bizarre,  but I truly think this is a book where you have to force yourself to be lost in the narrative. Go with the flow and if, like me, you close the book with a sigh of satisfaction,  then you know that you have just read an intense,  unusual, yet thoroughly good story.