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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