Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Forever Bound by Deanna Roy

Synopsis: Jenny is a girlfriend-for-hire, the platonic kind.

While under contract with her movie director boyfriend, glamour has ruled. Designer gowns. Red-carpet premieres. And, of course, seeing her face in the tabloids.

She loves tabloids. 

But her reign has come to an end. Her sugar daddy has fallen in love -- with someone else. Her contract is over and tonight she has to end it publicly by making sure the paparazzi "catches" her with another man. 

She just has to find the man. 

Chance has been hitchhiking across the US, playing and singing for tips. This is the life he's always imagined, and the farther he gets from his disastrous family in Tennessee, the better he feels. 

An unexpected invitation to sing with an indie blues group at a movie premiere party gives him a sweet taste of fame. As a bonus, a beautiful girl with pink dreadlocks only has eyes for him. 

But the collision between Jenny and Chance is more emotional and intense than either of them expected. When the scandal hits the news, Chance's family finds him, pushing him to come home and face his demons. 

The night has even more consequences for Jenny. She needs to find Chance, but nobody knows anything about him, not even his last name. 

Her journey takes her across the country and into the disaster Chance is running from. But she can't give up on him, because what neither of them realized is that sometimes a single night can be the beginning of forever.

It is a standalone HEA that does not require reading any other parts of the Forever series.
My Thoughts: 

Well at 20% on my kindle I'm already in need of a cold shower …

And at 80% I had to force myself to close my kindle and get some sleep … if I hadn’t I would have devoured this book in one sitting.

Jenny’s contracted relationship with Frankie, her sugar daddy movie director, has come to an end. They’ve agreed that she will set up some scandalous snaps for the paparazzi ... media hype for Frankie, just in time for his upcoming movie release.

Chance is a loner and a drifter musician hitchhiking his way around the US, avoiding emotional family issues in his hometown of Chattanooga, Texas. It was really easy to fall a little bit in love with Chance when we meet him in the beginning of the story.

Jenny and Chance end up at the same Hollywood after party, Jenny on Frankie’s arm and Chance jamming with the band hired for the party. Chance immediately catches Jenny’s eye as the perfect guy for the paparazzi snaps and Chance’s attention is immediately caught by the girl with the pink dreadlocks.

I was surprised I felt such chemistry between Jenny and Chance early on considering Jenny’s reasons for seeking Chance out. The scenario didn't really scream hotness for me, more like tackiness but I instantly felt the connection and it worked in the overall story.

I seriously thought I was reading a novella I flew through this book so quickly, but when I checked the details on Goodreads Forever Bound is actually a little longer than the first book Forever Innocent. My only complaint is that I could have easily read more.

It was lovely that Corabelle and Tina were present in this novel, but Forever Bound is a standalone. I'd still recommend reading the series ... why miss out on Deanna’s other wonderful and touching novels.

Once again, Deanna’s novel offers an emotional and real life situation that families often go through. Whilst this novel isn't about infant loss, it's still about the loss of a loved one.

I highly recommend picking up a Deanna Roy novel, you won’t regret it.  Just make sure the tissue box is within reach.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Welcome to Sugartown

Author:   Carmen Jenner
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Series:  Sugartown Book #1
Publication Date:  3rd November 2013
Pages: 255 pages
Book Source:  Amazon Kindle Store
Format:  ebook

Ana Belle never wanted anything more than to hang up her apron, jump on her Vespa and ride off into the sunset, leaving Sugartown in the dust.

Elijah Cade never wanted anything more than a hot meal, a side of hot arse and a soft place to lay his head at night where he could forget about his past.

But you know what they say about wanting: you always want what you can’t have.

Nineteen year-old virgin Ana is about to discover that’s not quite true because a six foot three, hotter than hell, tattooed, Aussie sex god just rode into town. He’s had a taste of her pie and he wants more– no really, Ana bakes pies for a living, get your mind out of the gutter.

She’d be willing to hand over everything tied up in a big red bow, there’s just one problem; Elijah has secrets dirtier than last week’s underwear. Secrets that won't just break Ana’s heart, but put her life at risk, too. When those secrets come to light, their relationship is pushed to breaking point.

Add to that a psychotic nympho best friend, an overbearing father, a cuter than humanly possible kid brother, a wanton womanizing cousin, the ex from hell, and more pies than you could poke a ... err ... stick ... at.

And you thought small towns were boring.

I honestly am at a loss as to how I want to review Welcome to Sugartown.  It started off great and I was completely involved in the story and the characters and then the ‘feel’ of the book changed.  I can’t really say much at all about the events that lead to this change without revealing spoilers.  I was questioning whether to continue reading at around the 50% mark on my Kindle, but I rarely ever DNF a book.   Then around the 60% mark on my Kindle I was wishing that I had DNF’d this book.

Certain events took place that just turned my stomach, one event was enough but when the second took place I just wasn’t sure if I could…or wanted to continue reading.   I had no idea what the author had planned for Ana and Elijah.

I will say however, that I think this author is very good and there is some great writing in this story.  Carmen Jenner certainly had my emotions running all over the place…she made me laugh, cry, she made me want to hide my Kindle in the bottom of my underwear draw!   

I do feel like so much is left unanswered but there is another book in this series, Holly’s story (she’s a hoot by the way) and I found myself wanting to continue with this series.  If it wasn’t for the event at the halfway mark and definitely the event at the 61% mark I would have probably given this book 5 stars.  I don’t think I should bring my rating down too much just because I didn’t particularly like what happened.

Sugartown is a fictional town in Australia but at the beginning of the book I didn’t necessarily feel like I was in Australia.  (I am Australian btw and live in Queensland).  There was reference to Nutri-Grain and ‘arsehole’ rather than ‘asshole’ but the author referred to a District Attorney and there is no such role in our legal system.  Our equivalent would be a Crown Prosecutor, District Attorney is an American term.

With all due disclosure I read romance.  I love romance with a hot biker boy…I didn’t even mind that he had served time in prison…and maybe it was just that I wasn’t expecting the book to take such a brutal and nasty turn of events.

The author deserves points though for surprising me and not just writing the predictable storyline.  It is a book that I recommend be read and you'll just have to decide for yourself.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

Genre: A little bit of just about everything

Series: Outlander series

Publication Date:  1 January 1991

Pages: 870

Book Source: local bookstore

Synopsis:  The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Many many years ago…too many to count…my neighbour loaned me her very well used edition of Cross Stitch (known throughout the US as "Outlander").  I had a very young baby in the house and not a lot of spare time to myself.  Every now and then I would pick the book up, read a paragraph or two, but would be sidetracked by something else or was just too tired to really absorb any of the words.  Enough time went by that I had to either really give the book a go, or return it to my neighbour.  I decided one day to just take the time to read the first chapter or two and see whether it was something I would continue with.  Well I do believe once Claire went through the stones I ignored my family and responsibilities to devour the whole story.

I've lost count as to how many times I have re-read this book since then.  I quite often will pick up any book from the series and just skim through and take a moment to read my favourite parts (of which there are countless).

With the eighth book due for publication mid this year and the new series series currently being filmed it has been a joy to be able to join with the online community in re-living the series so far.  I've been so impressed by everything Ron Moore and Starz have shared with us thus far and I'm one of the many that has joined in the Sam Heughen fan club, I think he's going to be a very impressive Jamie Fraser.

If you are one of the few that has looked at this series but not indulged so far then I would suggest you start reading quick smart.  I certainly think its one of those books that should definitely be read before the series airs.  The story is so rich in detail and it will be impossible for Starz to include everything.

I looked for a quote or a favourite part to share and there were so many it was hard to decide.  I decided to choose one that didn't hold any spoilers in the event there are people that exist that haven't read or heard about this series.

This is Jamie talking to Claire...

“When the day shall come that we do part," he said softly, and turned to look at me, "if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.” 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Forever Loved by Deanna Roy

Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: The Forever Series #2
Publication Date: 10th January 2014
Pages: 275
Book Source: from author for review


“How do I tell the woman I love that I fathered a son with a prostitute?”

After four long years of separation, Gavin has finally reunited with his childhood love Corabelle. She’s forgiven him for leaving her during the funeral of their seven-day-old baby, and also for where he ended up — in Mexico to get a vasectomy.

But a message from Rosa, a prostitute he met the day of his surgery, brings his life to a crashing halt. She claims Gavin has fathered a son, now three years old and living with her cousin in Ensenada. He doesn’t know if he can trust Rosa, who never mentioned the boy before, or if his delicate reconciliation with Corabelle can withstand the shock if it is true.

Corabelle believes their future together is the right thing despite their past. But when she learns of this other child, the one thing she lost long ago and might never have again with Gavin, Corabelle’s faith that her life will ever follow her old dream is shattered. To make things right for Gavin and his son, she just might have to let go of the only person she always believed would be her forever love.

Forever Loved is the heart-wrenching conclusion to Gavin and Corabelle's passionate story.

After being emotionally drained by the depth of the first book in this series, Forever Innocent, I was thrilled when approached to receive an ARC and review the second book, Forever Loved. When I was provided with the ARC I was also given the correct synopsis that was not being promoted until the release of the book. 

“How do I tell the woman I love that I fathered a son with a prostitute?”

I will be completely honest and tell you that I almost choked when I read that first line.  I was instantly worried about what the author had planned for Gavin and Corabelle. They have both been through so much in their young lives and haven’t really dealt with their grief at losing their baby boy Finn when he was only 7 days old. 

I thought ... do we really need to go down this path?  Surely they will never recover from this and I desperately wanted them to have some happiness and joy in their lives and finally deal with the grief of losing their son together, heal their hearts a little and move forward.  

It wasn’t pleasant to be reminded how Gavin dealt with his grief, running out on Corabelle without explanation and staying disconnected from life. I should be annoyed with him but at the end of the day he’s an 18 year old young man and it’s not entirely implausible that he react the way he did.

It was refreshing that Gavin was honest with Corabelle about possibly being the father of Rita’s little boy, Manuel. Deanna could have taken a predictable path here but she didn’t and I couldn’t be more pleased about that. With me, authors win extra points by not following the predictable. It was refreshing to have Gavin deal with the situation in a mature way and it made me believe if they love and trust each other completely they’ll get their HEA.

I don’t want to go into great detail in my review because I don't want to spoil anything for other readers. I do really feel a connection to Corabelle and Gavin and it isn’t often that a book will make me cry real tears, but these two certainly have. The flashbacks to the funeral made me feel like I was there right alongside the characters. Having had a very close friend who suffered the loss of a stillborn baby, I felt like I’d been given insight into what she was dealing with behind closed doors.

Had we not been told that there’s another book in this series, Tina’s story, then I would have been disappointed in the Epilogue. I do feel like Gavin and Corabelle’s story isn’t quite finished. I feel such a connection to them that I want to know where they are in a year’s time … 2 year’s time … 5 years time … 10 year’s time!

I highly recommend this series to readers, it may hit too close to home for some readers, particularly those that have experienced infant loss themselves, but one thing I found supporting my friend through her loss was that she needed to talk about her beautiful baby boy and what she was feeling.

Cross posted at Teddyree's Blog, The Eclectic Reader

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review-Down London Road

Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2)Down London Road by Samantha Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even after noting that some fans of the first book were disappointed in the second book in this series, Down London Road, I was still eagerly anticipating its release.

I am pleased to say that I loved it. It is one of those books that finds me glaring at the clock in the wee hours on the morning wishing time would stand still because I know I need to put my book down and get some sleep...but I just didn't want to stop reading...the story had me so engrossed that I just needed to know it all.

I really liked the characters, surprising myself that I warmed to Cam after he was so harshly judgmental of Jo in the beginning, but warm to him I did and I loved that he was man enough to admit his faults. I could understand why Jo was dating someone like Malcolm, after everything she had been through she was just trying to protect her brother, but also protect herself. I always find it difficult to read romance novels when the characters you know are going to end up with each other, are dating other people. This story just flowed so well for me that it really didn't bother me. In the real world it isn't unheard of that people dating all of a sudden find themselves attracted to someone else. Neither Cam nor Jo had been in their relationship for a long period of time so I found it plausible that they found themselves attracted to each other.

I don't want to give away spoilers, so I'll just say that I think Samantha Young has written a wonderful story and I will eagerly anticipate her next release.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Another Week!

Well I decided after my impromptu post last week that I really needed to become more regular with my posting...so much goes through my mind each week and I never record it in any way. My friend Jenny gave me a lovely journal for Christmas this year and it sits beside my bed looking very pretty but without a word recorded each week. For someone who regularly kept journals prior to children, and in the early years of parenting, this is something that frustrates me. This week is another usual week for me...I get to the end and feel like I've achieved nothing, but in fact have been quite productive. At present I'm feeling extremely lost...not really sure what my ambitions are and what direction I really want my life to take. It goes without saying that my priority role each week is as a mother. I need to care for my children..make sure they are safe, fed and loved. This is a box I tick each week. But what is left after that? What is it that I'm trying to achieve? I need to work...or rather I need to be bringing some income into the family coffers. My husband made a life changing decision nearly two years ago to leave the security of his career...for many and varied reasons that I won't go into on my blog. I have so much admiration for my husband for the values he upholds in his career and am constantly amazed by his achievements. He is loving his new career and being able to do what he wants to do the way he wants to do it. Unfortunately it has meant of loss of financial security to pay the bills and keep our heads above water. We don't live an extravagant life, but one of our greatest expenses is that our children attend a private school. It is something that if we can avoid changing it we will. If I can work purely to pay for that, then I will. Even without that, I feel like I am ready to go back to work...I want to go back to work and feel like I'm contributing something to our finances. I recently spent three works working at the chambers where my husband has an offer and I LOVED it!. Granted, I knew that it was for three weeks and that after that the receptionist would be returning from her holiday. Maybe that made the whole scenario easier to bare. I finished at 2.30-3 o'clock every day and was therefore able to be home in the afternoon with the kids. My husband did take a little more care in his schedule to help out around the house. I felt that we worked together as a team, more so than we usually do. My husband told me that he thought I was a happier person when I was working. I haven't worked full-time since my eldest child was born 12 years ago. When contemplating returning to the workforce I did feel like I was starting at the beginning again and turned my thoughts to how I have spent the last 12 years and what would I like to do. I was competent at my last job, more than competent I thought, but it wasn't something I felt a desire to return to. Also we are finding it hard to get our head around what will our children do in the school holidays if I am working full time. Once thing I've loved over the last 12 years is supporting my children in their schooling. I was always the first to volunteer to help in the classroom, much to my friend's dismay...why didn't I take some time for myself...go and have a coffee. To me it wasn't a chore, it was something I was happy to do. For this reason I enrolled with TAFE to complete the Certificate III in Education Support. I really enjoy my placement days at school. The whole TAFE side of things to me seems very disorganised and whole lot of red tape you have to go through to get a piece of paper that will tell me I am qualified to do the job, when in reality it is 'on the job' experience that teaches you the most. As much as our Government promised to put more funding into, it now seems that there is little funding going into teacher support roles. What is most disheartening at the moment is the difficulty in even getting an interview for a job. I've applied for a few jobs, I'll admit I have been selective in what I am applying for, but to date haven't even been selected for an interview. A job I recently applied for in a school, in an administrative position, there were well over 300 applicants. I do know of someone who managed to get an interview, and is even down to the second interview panel, and who I know blatantly lied about recent job experiences. She hasn't worked in over 5 years, but knows someone who said "say that you've been working for me". It is so disheartening, because I can't compete with that. I am honest and always will be. I have even enquired about night fill at the local supermarket, they have a list a mile long and aren't taking on anyone new. I feel like i'm 17 again...can't get a job without experience but can't get experience without a job. Who knows what 2013 will hold for me job wise, but for now will just try and soldier on and hope that good fortune will smile upon our family. I do know in the grand scheme of things we are better off than most, so I try not to think 'woe is me' and 'keep on swimming' as Nemo tells us to!

Friday, March 15, 2013

What a Wonderful World

My blog is a rarely updated thing...its something I always think to do but never actually get around to posting blog posts. Today is a day where I feel like I have so much to say...I want to sit with a friend and pour my heart out...maybe that's where a blog post should come in. Today was emotionally very big day, I attended two funerals and two people that have been in my life for a lot of years...one for over 30 years and another who has been in my life for over 20 years...not every week and in some years not even every year...but always there and when I did see them it was like we had seen each other yesterday. First funeral for today was my eldest brother's best mate, Gary Atkinson (also known as Schultz). I first met Gary when my eldest brother befriended him, I was probably in my late teens. They rented an old Queenslander on the top of the mountain and I dropped in from time to time and quite often saw them at my Mum's place. My brother and Gary were the type of mates who sometimes spent nearly every day of the week together and as they grew older and had other things in their life, would catch up from time to time. Gary was plain and simply a 'good bloke'. He certainly had not had the easy road to life but always managed to be cheerful and welcoming whenever I saw him. I really only knew of his health issues and tough times because of my brother telling me so, you would never have known it from Gary himself. Gary was a Type 1 Diabetic from infancy and in his later years suffered from various health complaints, one of which was probably depression. Depression has such a stigma attached to it that is often undeserved. Gary was only 43, too young for the end of life, but upon reflection it was like he had lived 100 years. It was a real lesson to my kids when Gary came into their lives. If you saw him in the street it would be very easy to judge Gary from his exterior...piercings, tattoos, facial hair, unique dress code. I clearly remember Gary visiting at our home and my two youngest children being wary of going out and saying hello because he looked 'weird'. I remember telling my children to go and say hello because Gary was a lovely guy. After that first meeting, my youngest kids would rush out the door to say hello and greet Gary and my brother. We talked a lot about how its always a good idea to get to know people but you should never 'judge a book by his cover'. Gary had a kind heart and he will be sadly missed by many. My second funeral today was for my dentist Stuart Edwards...known to everyone who knew him as "Stuey". I say that he was my dentist but he was so much more than that. My family first came to know Stuey when my eldest brother joined Scouts, I was maybe 5 at the time. Stuey was pretty much involved in every committee and organisation on the Coast, at the time when the Coast was a very small community indeed. I hated going to the dentist, as pretty much everybody did, but it was much easier to deal with knowing your dentist would give you a big hug and rub your arm in comfort when he knew that you hated having the needles. Stuey had only met my husband on a few occasions, one being when I forced my husband to have a dental check up after having spent many years avoiding the task. Yet every occasion I had an appointment he always asked me 'say hello to Geoff for me'...or he would have a story or a joke he would want me to relay to Geoff. I loved that he looked after me when I was a young girl and then took care of my own children when they came along. It absolutely touched my heart when Stuey came to my father's funeral, that was a true testament to the fact that he was a lifelong family friend. He was a gorgeous and caring man who I will remember with love in my heart. It was comforting today to see his wife, four sons and many grandchildren crying and laughing remembering this wonderful man. I am sure if Stuey had a comment to make about his own death it would be that he lived life with no regrets and lived life to its fullest. So today has been a very emotional day for me, and one that has made me reflect on my own life and family. Who would be there at my funeral and what will I be remembered for? All those things I stress about on a daily basis really seem insignificant. The important message is to love one another, show your appreciation and be thankful for every day we have. I will hug my children and my husband extra tight tonight and be thankful we have each other.