Book Review: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Genre: Fiction

In this moving, revelatory literary novel, a young writer finds himself unable to open up to the possibility of love — except through the companionship of his aging dachshund Lily. But with the unexpected arrival of a small octopus that affixes itself, unrelenting, to Lily’s head, it soon becomes clear this invader is strangling the life from his dog and threatening the bond between man and his one true friend.

With transportive spins into magic realism at sea and beautifully evoked universal truths of loss and longing on land, a hilariously sardonic and not altogether reliable narrator, and one unforgettable hound whose simple passions and inspiring wisdom will break your heart and put it back together again, Lily and the Octopus captures the singular search for meaning in the face of death and introduces a dazzling new voice in fiction.

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Excuse me for a moment while I wait for the emotional rollercoaster to slow down and cruise into the docking station, ready for me to get off. Oh my heart. This book is a wonderful, emotional, heart bleeding story of a man and his dog. Of course, once you read the first chapter you’ll know exactly how the story is going to go. Don’t let that stop you. Steven Rowley tells a wonderful tale of a dog and his owner. I fell in love with the relationship he has with Lily right from the beginning. I mean, surely everyone tumblr_mgoopn41in1rz2ot3o1_1280plays Monopoly and talks boys with their dog, right?! My heart is so full of love, but so heavy with sadness. This is a literary wonder. A book that makes you want to read it, but not continue on because you want to save yourself. You’ll never look at another dachshund without thinking of the beautiful Lily. Being a dog person I feel like I may have invested myself heavily in this book. There’s just no description of the love and loyalty a dog and owner have. Read this book… that’s all I can say. Read it and feel the love that exists in this world. I’ll be right back, I need to go and smother my two senior furry babies in lots of love!!!

~ A beautimous (both beautiful and fabulous) must-read. Grab this book! NOW!

Photo:Malina Saval

Book Review: A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

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Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Lit.

It’s the roaring twenties in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.

In a desperate attempt to support herself through Columbia University’s medical school, Evie auditions for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. But if she gets the part, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman – a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with, if only she lived a life less scandalous…

Captivating, romantic and tragic, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald follows a young woman ahead of her time amid the fragile hearts and glamour of Jazz Age New York.

 

 

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This book was simply the bee’s knees! Stepping back in time to the 1920’s was a copacetic experience. Whilst it did take me a little while to get a wiggle on, once I got over the hurdle, there was no turning back..only turning pages! The author has undoubtedly done her research, as there is so much culture spread on to the pages.

giphyThe main character, Evelyn (Evie) Lockhart is definitely not a wallflower. She is smart, clever, and strong. Although some of her choices are questionable, and I’ll admit they left me feeling a little uneasy reading through. Despite that, I was so glad to read all the way in one sitting, and found the ending truly satisfying.

964605036161d5630a6d5d25510043d8This book had me up until 2am in the morning! I could not put it down. The whole book was littered with language from the 1920’s which makes me want to bring it back! With settings like the speakeasy, to sayings like “spifflicated” (something I’ve certainly done on the weekends past), this book is a delightful insight into a woman who is faced with adversity in a time when men ruled, and women kept quiet…until Evelyn Lockhart came along. Much more than a love story.

 

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(This book is also available in paperback from leading book retailers)

Thank you to Hachette Australia and Natasha Lester for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Eternity Springs Series by Emily March *Promo Post*

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Calling all Romantics …

Have you discovered the Eternity Springs series by Emily March?

If not…consider spending your summer (or Aussie Winter!) in Eternity Springs, Colorado!

Come with us on a virtual journey to Eternity Springs and fall in love … Join the Eternity Springs Book Club on Goodreads!

You are enthusiastically invited to be part of a truly unique networking and reading opportunity for anyone who loves heartwarming, romantic reads complete with happy-ever-afters. The Eternity Springs series, by USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and NY Times bestselling author Emily March will take you to a world you will never want to leave. Fans of Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, and Debbie Macomber will feel right at home in Eternity Springs, Colorado, where broken hearts come to heal.

This summer, Emily, her publisher, and her promotions team are collaborating to sponsor a re-read of the first nine books in this popular series … all leading up to the release of its tenth novel, HeartSong Cottage, (coming to readers on November 3rd from Emily’s new publisher, St. Martin’s Press). New readers are more than welcome. Emily’s romantic novels are contemporary, romantic and passionate, heartwarming and uplifting. Suitable for audiences of young adult, new adult, and adult contemporary romance ages 16 and over. The setting for the series is a rural, western, small town – with traditional social values. The sexual scenes are descriptive, but not explicit. The series is also classified as inspirational romance, because of Eternity Springs is a place where broken hearts come to heal. The overall theme of the series is that new beginnings are always possible – even when you least expect them, or don’t believe you’re worthy of them. Life happens, love heals.

The Eternity Springs Book Club has been created on Goodreads so that current Emily March fans – and new readers – may experience these contemporary romance novels together. The club has attracted 137 members already – and we haven’t started reading yet! Reading “officially” begins June 17th and continues through October 13th. Each book in the series will be featured for reading/re-reading every two weeks, with discussions, Q&A, author appearances, contests, lots of giveaways and so much more. We even have a Pinterest board and a Spotify playlist for members to add to and enjoy. A complete schedule is posted on the group page, with links to the book series.

About the Author

EMILY MARCH AUTHOR PHOTO

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal,and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Social Media Links

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Twitter(@emilymarchbooks)
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Angel’s Rest: Book 1 of the Eternity Springs Series

Named one of the Top 100 Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly magazine

Angel's Rest

John Gabriel Callahan has lost everything that mattered. All he wants is solitude on an isolated mountain estate. Instead, he gets a neighbor. Vibrant, no-nonsense Nic Sullivan is Eternity Springs’ veterinarian, and she has an uncanny plan to lure this talented architect back to the world of the living. First with a dog, next with a renovation project, and, finally, with a night of passion that ends with a surprise.

Now a man still raw from tragedy must face the biggest struggle of his heart. Can he forgive himself and believe in the power of second chances? Dare he trust in the promise of a future and brand-new family here in Eternity Springs?

Excerpt

Gabe gave in to both their desires. He tugged off his shirt and it wasn’t until he heard her shocked gasp that he realized just what he’d done. The scars had been a part of him for so long now that he forgot he even had them. He unconsciously straightened, bracing himself against the barrage of questions sure to come. Questions he had no intention of answering. That part of his life was a closed book.

The pretty veterinarian surprised him. But for that one betraying inhalation, her professionalism never slipped. Maybe her gaze was a bit softer, her touch as gentle as the snowfall, but she never once recoiled or eyed him with pity. Gradually Gabe relaxed. For a few stolen moments he allowed himself to pleasure in the sensation of human touch upon his skin.

“I’ll quarantine the boxer,” she said. “You should drive into Gunnison and see Dr. Hander at the medical clinic. He’ll put you on prophylactic antibiotics. When was your last tetanus shot?”

“Last year.”

“Good.”

Next she ran through a series of basic questions about his medical history, and then asked him to lie on his back. “Your legs will hang off the table, I’m afraid, but this way will keep your pants dry.” His jeans had been wet since he wrestled with the dog, but he kept that detail to himself and studied her through half-closed eyes as she prepared to bathe his wounds with saline. Her beauty was the wholesome, girl-next-door type. He figured the lack of a ring on her finger was due to work-related safety factors rather than marital status. Bet she was married with a couple of kids…

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Buying Links

Excerpts are available on Emily’s Website and on the book sites listed below.

amazon.com B & N iTunes Kobo

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Book Review: Light A Candle For The Beast by Echo Shea

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

If you’ve ever been caught in a riptide, pulled down into the water, then you know me. Or, more accurately, what I’m like when I’m angry.

Delia was beautiful, smart, and kind. He wasn’t. He said he loved her, but he didn’t know what love was. Light a Candle Blue BlurbHe was manipulative and cruel—more than a thief. A beast.

All she wanted was a rose… 

These are the words on my sister’s grave. Her sadness, her obsession, forever a reminder I didn’t–couldn’t save her.

I’m not vindictive or cruel. I’m simply as the river–my memory is winding and my reach is long. I watched him steal her beauty, her essence. Watched him become a beast. He thought he’d get away with it, thought he’d go free.

I lay a rose upon my sister’s grave.

Light a candle for the beast.

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MyReviewBadgeIf you’re looking for a fast fiction read that doesn’t compromise on story, then this is for you. Reading this book was actually stepping out of my realm a bit. I’ve got to say, I loved every step of the way! The darkness of the original story is explored in this re-telling, and done is such a fantastical sort of way. The prose is dark and imaginative and I was immediately immersed into the world created by the author. It was a page turner that I thoroughly enjoyed. Not is all as it seems, in the magical world of Beauty…and The Beast. A really great quick read for the paranormal fantasy readers.

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About the Author:
Echo Shea is an Urban Fantasy writer. Known for fast-paced and sometimes chilling prose, she hunkers down at her desk with characters that not only enchant, but excite her. There’s something so freeing about writing beyond what seems possible.
Who says there’s not something more hiding in these Maryland woods?

AuthorWebsitebutton    facebookbuttontouse        twitter-buttoncanstock6030971Thank you to the author for generously providing a copy of the book for an honest review.

Pick this up for 99c at the time of this blog post.

Sunday Spotlight: Authors on Show – Patricia Weerakoon

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This week we have something a little different! A Non-Fiction Author!
*Disclaimer: I have not read any of the books, all opinions and content of
the book are the authors. I am providing a platform for choice to read them or not*

About the Author:

Patricia Weerakoon is a Christian medical doctor cum academic turned sexologist and writer. She retired in 2012 from after a career as director of an internationally renowned graduate program in sexual health at the University of Sydney to pursue her passion for writing and public speaking.

Launch PWeeHer nonfiction books are gold-standard guides for good sex and relationship for all ages: from preteens to those in nursing homes. She also writes romantic fiction with a social conscience, bringing together her international experience in sexual health and her passion for her homeland of Sri Lanka.

As a Sexologist she has translated her passion to bring good holistic sexual health to all people into practical sex education, sex research and sex therapy. Her writing and speaking brings together her enthusiasm for sex and her love for the glory of God. Patricia has a recognised media presence and is a popular public speaker and social commentator in Australia.

Patricia’s Books:

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Teen Sex: By the Book: For teenagers and parents of teens

This book answers your questions about teenage sexuality and relationships. Renowned sex therapist and educator, Dr Patricia Weerakoon, explores the topics of sexual desire and arousal, falling in love, and dating—things like, ‘How far is too far?’ You’ll also cover topics like cybersex, pornography and homosexuality, and the effects these can have on our sex lives. The discussion is frank and, in parts, explicit.

Some may find it a little uncomfortable, but it’s stuff that will inform and challenge you. Ultimately, it calls you to consider who you are and what you stand for. Discover how living God’s countercultural lifestyle leads to healthy, pleasurable sex and intimate, satisfying relationships that last a lifetime.

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Growing up: By the Book: For Children and preteens from 9-14 years and their parents

Puberty—it’s an exciting time. You’re not a child, but you’re not an adult either. Your body is chang­ing­: breasts, curves and periods; deepening­ voices, broadenin­g shoulders and wet dreams. And hair in some quite strange places! And, you don’t feel like a child. Well, sometimes you still want to cuddle Mum but mostly you want to do things your own way and explore your own identiGUBTB4ty. And then there’s all this talk about sex!

So, how do you manage all these changes? How do you decide ‘your way’? Who (or where) do you go to for advice?

Renowned sex therapist and educator Patricia Weerakoon answers the most common questions kids aged 10−14 have about puberty, sex and relationships. She’ll get you thinking about how you see your body, what you feed your brain, and who you base your identity on.

But growing up is more than just facts; it’s about becoming the best person you can be. You’ll see how living your life the way God intended is best for you, your friends and your family.

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The Best Sex for Life: For couples of all ages from dating to the nursing home.

We live in a world of rampant individualism and self-fulfilment. We’re entitled to sexual satisfaction; our culture vigorously affirms it. The result is dissatisfaction—sex is not as frequent, exciting or orgasmic as it should be and it’s usually our spouse’s fault.

Whether you’ve accepted that ‘this is as good as it gets’, struggle in ignorance, or turn to other sources for fulfilment, know that this is not how God intended sex to be! The best way to have a happy, fulfilled sex life is to understand God’s purpose for sexuality and to be willing to live under biblical direction for our relationships in marriage and beyond.

No matter whether you are engaged, a newlywed or have been married for many years, this new book by Patricia Weerakoon is for you. We will discuss the day-to-day activities of a good sex life plus hot topics like premarital sex, infidelity, pornography, sex toys, sexual dysfunctions and variant sexual practices. Discover how to have the best sex for life, no matter what stage of life you are at.

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theOthersisterGenre: Fiction

All Vicki wanted to do was visit her homeland, Sri Lanka, to attend her sister’s wedding, and find out more about an orphanage she’d heard good things about. Instead, she finds herself forced into an illicit liaison with Alfie, her sister’s wealthy, arrogant and charming fiancé; finds herself drawn to Patrick, the tormented manager of the orphanage; and then discovers the orphanage to be a front for a child sex tourism racket. Vicki is determined to save her sister’s marriage, and the orphanage children – and to do it she’s willing to put her career, even her life, on the line.

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Buy the book

Coming Soon: (May 2015)

Empires Children

A story set in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka in the dying years of the British colonial ‘raj’. These are the children of the empire: Shiro, the feisty and independent daughter of the native tea-maker cares nothing for the class distinctions, while her best friend Sunderi, born into the squalor of life as an indentured Indian labourer is only too aware of the hopelessness of her situation. Anthony Ashton, who with his brother William is heir to one of the world’s largest tea companies, and has been indoctrinated by his father James Ashton to scorn Sri-Lankan natives and see the Indian coolie labour as little more than slaves to be used for personal gratification and the increase of company profits. And Jega, the half breed son of James.

Me and my editor Julie

My Editor Julie & I

QandA

  1. How would you describe the writing to publishing process? Any fun analogies?

I love cooking. Writing is a little like a good curry. You need the right ingredients. Authentic, fresh, spicy. Then the mix of these and the time you spend stirring and heating all are influenced by who you plan to feed. If the flavours are just right you get the result you want: A dish that informs and edifies, thrills and whets the appetite or an aphrodisiac that makes the consumer beg for more.

  1. Are you a plotter or a fly by the seat of your pants type writer?

I am a plotter, a planner a pedantically practical person.

  1. Do you listen to music or are you a silence in the library writer?

I am a ‘whatever takes my mood at the moment’ type writer.

  1. You’re going to a deserted island and you’re allowed 3 books to read for the rest of your life… which books and why?

The Bible: My life is based on it

A music hymn book: I love to sing and can learn all the hymns.

A blank note book (and pencils) to record my thoughts.

 

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canstock6030971Thank you to Dr. Patricia Weerakoon for spending some time on the blog today. I’m an equal opportunity blogger and happy to bring all different ideas, genres, and views for everyone to make up their own mind.

Next week I’ll have some new reviews up and don’t forget Teaser Tuesday! I keep forgetting the US is a day behind so after I’d posted last weeks we ended up with a load more teasers! I’ll add them to this weeks post.

What are you reading right now? I’d love to know!!

Book Review: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill

reluctantlycharmedGenre: Fiction

It’s Kate McDaid’s birthday and she’s hoping to kickstart her rather stagnant love-life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great-great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week.

Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Instantly, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye. As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil the final, devastating step of the request . . . or whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t.

Reluctantly Charmed is about what happens when life in the fast lane collides with the legacy of family, love and its possibilities… and a little bit of magic.

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The front cover of Reluctantly Charmed says “Witty, enchanting and utterly addictive” .. I’m going to have to agree. This was such a quirky, gorgeously fun read. It’s a story of a girl, and what she needs to do step out of her comfort and truly ‘trust her instincts’. Can she believe? Can she make the right choices? Ellie O’Neill writes in a fun, easy to read manner that had me a1a01b0c7cb7c586ca2857db7f2a5b76turning the page rapidly, eager to read the words on the next and the next and the next page, until I finally closed the book. There’s a lot of characters that make up the story, and at times I had to double back and re-check who was who, but it didn’t take away from the charming story. The Irish countryside, the characters of the little Irish village, it all had me sighing and wishing I could be whisked away to Ireland and the land of fae, just to see if I could find the fairy fort….. what if…

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About the Author:

Ellie O’Neill sold spider catchers in Sydney, flipped burgers in Dublin, and worked in advertising in London, but all the while EllieOneill427519970_hrshe had that niggling feeling she had stories to tell. Swapping the dizzy disco lights of London for her parents’ suburban Dublin house, she scribbled away knowing that there was something about Irish fairies she needed to share with the world. Then, most unexpectedly, Ellie fell madly in love. Five years later, Geelong, Australia, is home to Ellie, her Joe, and their fabulous baby. Ellie is currently working on her second book.

BUY LINKS

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Bookworld   Boomerang Books   Dymocks Booksellers   QBD The Bookshop   The Reading Room   Booktopia

A massive huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for the paperback copy of Reluctantly Charmed. It will proudly sit on my book shelf!