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. 

New Release Book Review: Modern Heart by Belinda Williams

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Limited time only: Dream career! Perfect man! The catch? Emotional availability.
Scarlett Wong has a reputation for toughness. A talented and often feared Creative Director at an award-winning Sydney advertising agency, she doesn’t do relationships, she doesn’t invite men home, and she never stays the night. The only people who see her softer side are her three closest girlfriends, and they’re finally convinced they’ve found her perfect man: John Hart.
Scarlett’s never been one to back down from a challenge and she’s not going to start now. But when John secures Scarlett an invitation from one modernheartteaser1of New York’s leading galleries to exhibit her artwork, it means putting herself out there like never before. Scarlett’s perfect man wouldn’t interfere in her life like this – would he?
For a woman who thinks she’s not scared of anything, Scarlett is about to discover she’s not as tough as she thinks. Will she take the chance to turn her secret passion into a career, risk the safety of her advertising career, and let John in? Or will old habits die that little bit too hard?

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Belinda Williams has continued to excel in bringing together characters with emotion and substance. IN her latest release, Modern Heart, she will have you cringing, cheering, and hoping that emotions don’t ruin everything.

Scarlett Wong is a self-proclaimed emotionally detached career woman. Having been pressured all her life to do the things she doesn’t love Scarlett finds it hard to accept that she may just be good at something she loves, art. In the book she battles with her relationship with a controlling mother. A strict Chinese immigrant, Scarlett’s mum sees her daughter as an academic, not an artist. This has meant Scarlett carries scars throughout the story. Can she begin the heal these scars as she gets older, and discover that art is her true passion?!

Enter Mr. Perfect. John ‘bloody’ Hart. All her friends know he’s the guy for her, but she has so many personal issues she’s not willing to let him in. They’ve met before, in book one, but things finally begin change when she decides to take a chance. This book is so much more than boy modernheartteaser3and girl get together. There is a lot of emotion and it flicks between Scarlett remembering significant events from her childhood, and the present. This book really is about a woman coming to terms with herself, and the choices in her life that she has control over.

I really enjoyed reading the dynamics of the friends, again. Being set in Sydney is really fun to read, and I love to imagine exactly where they may be (just as I did in The Pitch – book 1). Modern Heart is the perfect next installment in the City Love series. A mixture of friendship, cynicism, coming to terms with who you are, and finding that life leads a tricky road. This book is all about navigating through choices you make in life, and how it can be so much better with friends, and love.

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**I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Momentum Books for the opportunity to review**

Blog Tour & Book Review: Broken Dreams by Cassidy K. O’Connor

Genre: Young Adult A twist of fate changes her life forever… One dream put on hold to honor another… Do second chances exist? Can dreams be reclaimed? Twins, Isabelle and Ian are enjoying their senior year of high school with their whole lives ahead of them. She is auditioning for Julliard and he has offers for soccer scholarships at any school he wants. Only Isabelle knew he was planning to put off college and join the Army. Tragedy strikes one day and Ian is killed. In her grief, Isabelle decides to put her dream on hold and honor his. While deployed tragedy strikes again and she is injured. Thinking her dreams of dancing again are out of reach she gives up on life. Is she strong enough to overcome her disabilities? Can the love she finds with her brothers best friend Conner be enough to help her reclaim her dreams? amazon-logo

Excerpt: Her yoga pants stop just below the knee and are loose enough I can pull them up pretty far on her thigh. I freeze; it’s the first time since the hospital that I’ve really gotten to look at her wounds. “Hideous aren’t they?”
“Every mark, every line tells a story about someone you met over there. Each of these is a memory, this isn’t the way you would have wanted to keep them with you but that wasn’t up to you. They are your hero’s mark and you should be proud to show them off.”

Author Bio I am a born and raised Floridian who loves to travel but never forgets where my roots are. I married my high school sweetheart, have 3 kids and a crazy dog. Travelling and reading are my two favorite hobbies. I love all things Ireland and have been lucky enough to visit twice. I hope to one day watch a Major League Baseball game in every stadium in the country.

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This story definitely falls into the Young Adult category for me. I did find it a little difficult to get into the mind of the main characters, but it was because she was well written as a teen read (and for me, that was a long time ago!). The author does a good job of setting the scenes throughout and most certainly has a way of immersing such emotion into the story.

This story takes the reader through a timeline that spans a few years. The characters go through A LOT, and the story really does take the reader on that journey with them. It’s a story of heartbreak and loss, and the immeasurable feelings that come from that. At the same time, this story is about giving up one dream and creating another. Fighting back when you feel that all is lost, and living for what you believe in.

 The chapters are in alternate points of view which was done in a way that helped the story travel. I really think this story will appeal to teen readers, as well as anyone who likes a teen/young adult contemporary story. I am certain I know of quite a few young readers who would love this book. The cover is intriguing and sets the tone for exactly what is to come.

This book is out now – so grab yourself a copy as soon as you can.  Keep scrolling down below to read a fun interview with the author!

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Fun Questions:

1. What’s your favorite color? I feel most confident in red and it looks best with my coloring. This is also the color I associate with passion so I’m very drawn to it. My bedroom is a very deep red. I also love purple; ironically I rarely wear it though. 2. List 5 facts about yourself. I played bagpipes all through middle and high school I have 3 kids who are all musically and athletically talented. I married my high school sweetheart and we’re still going strong after 15 years. I love to travel. I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, England and France. I’m a terrible homemaker! I work full time plus write on the side so I’m not a true stay at home mom but I still really suck at cooking and cleaning. My husband is much better at taking care of the house than I am. 3. What do you like to do for fun? With three kids I rarely have time to consider my own idea of fun. When I do get out it’s for fondue at Melting Pot, music concerts, bowling and mini golf. I used to read incessantly but since I started writing I’ve found there is no time for reading too! Book Questions: 1. When did you start writing? Over the years I’ve written small things but never took it very serious. I met some Indie authors last year and learned so much about this DIY world. It was the first time I thought about writing for publishing. Knowing you don’t have to go through publishing companies and face rejections was eye opening for me. 2. Who are some of you favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books? Tessa Dare is by far my favorite and I love all of her books. I recently stumbled upon Barbara Devlin and have enjoyed her Brethren of the Coast series. My daughter is a huge fan of dystopian YA, I read everything she does so we can discuss them. For that genre I really enjoyed the Legend series by Marie Lu. 3. Who inspired you so start writing? Last year I was inspired to write a story for my hubby. He hates to read, I’ve tried buying him various genres but he never finished one. I decided to try writing a story I thought he could get through and maybe have it turn him on in the process. Amazingly he finished my story but sadly it didn’t inspire him to read anything else. 4. What genre’s do you like to read that most? Historical romance is my favorite genre; I am in awe of anyone that can write it.

Blog Tour & Review: Hope is Lost by Emma James

 


SYNOPSIS

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
-Jimi Hendrix

Keanu Lee, the funny man, finds himself on the sticky end of a night out with his best friend Levi.

Keanu’s life is about to take another unexpected, sharp turn. New friends will be found under the most unique circumstances.

Hope Walker is a lost soul, and Ajax, the street performer, is her unspoken protector. Together, they survive the streets of Ocean Beach.

Life has a way of righting wrongs when you least expect it.

Come join this sexy crew as they show you that, even though life may take from you, it can also give back when you least anticipate it.

The Ocean Beach series continues with the brotherhood, passion, and laughter you have grown to love, and through the eyes of these survivors, you will realize love can truly heal.

The past will never be forgotten, but there is hope if you just allow yourself to have a little faith.

 
 

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EXCERPT – Keanu Pov
 


“Do you want to come join us, Keanu? I just realized you were sitting over here by yourself.”

I look over at Slade and then back over at Phoenix. “So, kids, what’s up with you two?” OKAY, so I’m starting to slur a little.

“Sounds like you’ve had enough alcohol for the night,” Phoenix says.

Slade grunts and pretends he’s busy, wiping the bar down, even though he has wiped the same place in front of Phoenix several times. Phoenix turns her back on Slade and aims her boobies in my face, which I think is funny, so I start getting that drunk man-giggle going. Wanting to annoy Slade, she pretends I’m not being a little school boy, but she’s doing it with the wrong person. I am not getting in between those two.

Slade clears his throat. “Is there an order you’d like to put in for you and your friends?” The friends bit is said not so friendly.

“Oh, hey, Slade. I didn’t see you there,” she quips over her shoulder at him.

How could she not see him? He’s huge. I think I’m seeing two of him, which makes me chuckle.

“I’ll be right with you. Keanu and I are talking.”

Ooooh, she did not just use me to make Slade wait. On that note, I decide I shall move on home and slam my hand down a little too hard on the bar.

“Okay, guys, sorry to be a pooper, but I’m heading on home, and I will leave you two to whatever this is you two are doing.” I lean over and give Phoenix a kiss on the cheek and catch the possessive glare being directed at me from Slade. “I think I will call a cab.”

“I’ll do it for you. You go wait out front, and there will be one with you shortly,” Slade growls out to me.

Somebody is a bit grouchy.

“Thanks, bro. Enjoy the rest of your night, and same to you, too, Phoenix.” I shake Slade’s hand and head off to take a piss before I leave.

I’m wearing the doppelganger tonight, so I’m a bit slower with taking a leak. After what happened with Levi today, something inside me just wanted to make me feel a bit more normal tonight, so I chose to wear the doppelganger prosthetic under my loose fitting long sleeved t-shirt. I should have fought the insecurities which had decided to rear their ugly head and just worn the ‘big gun.’ Sometimes, I let them creep up on me and take over then wonder if I’m whole enough for somebody to love me.

I zip my pants up and think, Fuck it! I’m quite a catch. Then I have another chuckle to myself.

I head on out, yelling goodbye to Slade as I leave and waving to Phoenix.

Slade raises one arm in the air to wave at me yet doesn’t take his eyes off Phoenix, whom he seems to be having a heated discussion with. Those two kids need to just give into each other.

Almost as soon as I walk outside, a cab pulls up, and he calls out to me through his open window. “Are you Keanu?”

I move towards the back passenger door. “The one and only.”


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This book was a perfect next edition in the Ocean Beach series. You can check out my review of the first book: A Little Faith here. I wasn’t always a fan of switching POVs but Emma James has changed my mind. She manages to switch character POV at just the right time in just the right way that the story flows flawlessly and each character has a voice of their own. In this book I feel like James has improved her technique, and it’s easier to blend into the characters and distinguish their personalities. I think that being able to write so many different characters and their voices is a huge achievement and I commend the author on being so brave! I don’t think it’s going to be a style that will suit every reader, but the story line makes up for any inconveniences that may achieve. Whilst the endings leave the reader saying “WHAT…. WHAT… WHAT.. I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT ONE?!?!” it’s definitely not a reason to wait to pick up the series. Start reading now and fall in love with the humour, the mystery, the intrigue, the closeness, the family that the characters are, and enjoy the guys and gals of Ocean Beach.
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AUTHOR BIO

Emma James lives in Queensland, Australia with her smexy husband, three children and a big black Labrador. Life is busy and most entertaining in the James household.Writing has been a part of her life for many years. Life was getting on and it was time to put her fears aside and do what she does best. It was time to show readers what she was made of, take that leap off the diving board and see where it takes her.Emma is a creative person at heart. She loves to read as much as write, devouring books into the wee hours of the morning.Who needs sleep, right?Photography is another great passion of hers.A Little Faith is the first book released in the Ocean Beach series and proved to be quite the surprise read of 2014 for contemporary romance lovers with Hope Is Lost following closely on.Emma James is one determined snowflake who is here to make her imprint in the writing world.

 
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There is a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card and 3 ebooks (direct to Kindle) of Hope Is Lost

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New Release & Review – Through The Fire by Michelle Irwin

BDP BADGE 1Bottom Drawer Publications is proud to present Through the Fire, book one in the New Adult Paranormal series Daughter of Fire, by Michelle Irwin

Ever since Clay, a soldier for an organization tasked with ridding the world of non-humans, stumbled upon the secret of her birth, Evie’s been on the run. Now he’s back, and she’s unprepared as he forces his way into her heart.

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 Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Evie Meyers’ life is one spent on the run. Every minute of every day, her life is in danger if anyone should suspect the truth about her ancestry. Her father was willing to risk everything to keep the truth hidden, even from her, but the lies he fabricated were exposed when her high school crush, Clay Jacobs, inadvertently stumbled upon her secret. His discovery puts Evie at risk from a secret organization tasked with washing the world clean of nonhumans—and Clay is one of its deadliest soldiers. Forced into a war she doesn’t understand, all because of what she is, Evie is left with no choice but to flee with her father to escape persecution.

When Clay reappears in her life, battle scarred and mysterious, Evie is unprepared and terrified as he forces his way back into her heart. When the battle catches up with her, and a tragic accident tears apart the peace she discovered, she finds herself alone and without the protection of her father, or her lover. Now, she needs to keep her secrets hidden and learn to survive on her own in a world that wants her dead, all while searching for the missing piece of her heart.

I have to say, I have been anticipating this book for awhile now. I knew it was being written, but didn’t quite understand what it would be about! For a first time author, Michelle has proved to herself, and her readers, that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Through the Fire is the first in a series, and although I’m not a huge fan of starting a series knowing that other books aren’t complete, or have a set release, this was an exciting book on my to be read list! It’s set in a paranormal world, which in my opinion can be a tricky thing to do. Being the first in a series, there are snippets of characters introduced, that I am very keen to understand further in future books, I certainly hoped they’re developed further! I also think the interactions between the “Rain family” was too brief, but I’m sure that’s coming… Paranormal worlds can often come off as being a bit complicated and messy, however, Michelle has managed to create a world the reader can immerse themselves into, without confusion.

She weaves in the legends of the old-timers, such as the fae, that we all know, as well as creating her own world, involving non-humans, with the ability to create fire (You’ll get it once you start reading), and an elite group of people, known as “The Rain” who hunt down all the paranormal creatures of the world, believing they are all evil. The heart of the book is the Romeo and Juliet relationship between Evie (a phoenix) and Clay (The Rain). They meet as teens, but then, we don’t see any interaction until they are older, Evie having fled under instructions from her protective father. Their relationship starts where they left off, however a tragedy soon tears them apart. Throughout their time apart, instead of thriving, we see the main character struggle with her identity, ability to develop relationships, and life-as something other than ‘normal’. I really appreciated the fact that the author showed these struggles and lead the reader through a timeline that wasn’t hurried, nor too slow. clay1

The author has blended in enough action, romance, and mystery to make this a brilliant read. The push and pull of the relationship between the main characters, along with the timeline of events, is cleverly composed and smoothly executed. Warning – the ending “may” cause you to throw the book and cuss the author…but in a really good way! GO, read it and tell me what you think!

Read this book if you’re after a new world to immerse yourself into. A story of a girl who’s lost and struggling with a power inside her, and of a boy who could be her saviour, if only he wasn’t her sworn enemy.

I can’t wait to read the next installment.

BUY LINKS:

Publisher: BDP

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery Bio Pic - Michelle Irwinmountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.

Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.

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New Release & Review – Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe

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Genre: M/M Contemporary Paranormal Romance. Adult Fiction.

Caiden Jones is part-selkie and lives an idyllic life by the sea in South Australia. He’s had his fair share of disappointments, like being kept out of the Navy due to his mythica status, but overall he’s got a pretty good life. Until he’s in the wrong place at the right time.

Cai steps in to subdue an out-of-control minotaur and in the process suffers a serious injury to his ribs. As Cai struggles to breathe, a gorgeous suit-clad sy’lph with mesmerising blue eyes races to his rescue. When it’s learned that the minotaur was poisoned, the sy’lph, Gray, makes it his personal mission to keep Cai and his family safe.

Cai has always harboured some resentment towards the sy’lph because of their easy acceptance into the community, so the attraction he feels for Gray takes him by surprise. But how can they find out what this might mean when the lives of Cai and his family are endangered by someone closer than they realise?

I love stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to books (well, okay, except for horror! I still can’t!!!). This book definitely was an interesting mix of things in a book. When I think of paranormal, my mind automatically goes to vampires and angels, but this is a new one. I’d go with a bit of Sci-fi in this, as well.

I enjoyed reading about mythical creatures, and although I wasn’t sure what a selkie was, a quick Google had me at a treasure trove of pics and information! (Our main character is half-seal, for those playing at home!) Who knew there was an amazing world of mythical creatures to discover!!?!!Male_selkie_by_Mapvee

The timeline in the book isn’t very long, and there are a lot of times that I wanted more interaction between the two main characters, but I think the author did a great job. The chemistry between Caiden and Gray was cute. I kept on thinking of Gray, a sy’lph, as the silver surfer from Fantastic Four! The author gives us descriptive tastes, smells, and scenery, which added in with the Aussie-isms thrown back and forth between ‘mates’, gives the reader a sense of down to earth Australia.

The drama of injuries, poisonings, kidnappings, and terrorist vigilante groups was quite reminiscent of today’s society, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a paranormal world, not one we live in. It was fun to read an Aussie book, with the writing of an Aussie ‘voice’.

Congratulations to the author on her novel release. I look forward to checking out more of her work.

BUYING LINKS:

Bottom Drawer Publications

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.
L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica.

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*I received this book as an ARC from the publisher. All reviews expressed are solely mine.

Review – Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

mebeforeyoucoverGenre: Romance. Adult Fiction. Chick Lit. Drama. Angst. Contemporary Romance.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I’m going to keep this simple. There aren’t many books that ‘stay with you’..some tend to stick around for a bit, and then you tend to forget details in them, but just remember that you liked it, loved it, or can’t quite remember it. This book..

This was my immediate review on finishing the book:

 *gulp* *Snotsob* wow…

It’s taken a long time for a book to evoke emotions in me, but this one did it. Read it in a day. I did find it a bit tricky to start with, it’s English, the writing is a bit off flow, but once I got the hang of the flow of style writing it was all good. I could not stop. I was so invested in these characters. The relationship they develop is so off kilter, that you’re not expecting what comes around the corner, next. All I can say is…..

Read it. Think. Remember. Life is wonderful.

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This book is being turned into a movie, and I can’t wait!! Here is a pic of the two main characters – just in case you’re a visual person!!

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JoJo Moyes Website