Tag Archives: #romance

Blog Tour: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

A sun-drenched and irresistible love story from a stunning new talent in YA, perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell.

“A uniquely dazzling love story – sunshine flows through every electric page, and into your heart.” Harriet Reuter Hapgood, author of The Square Root of Summer

Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back.

When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.

My Blurb

I just knew this was going to be a beautiful book. In fact, it was just so so cute! Yes, it speaks of grief and the characters struggling with missing pieces in their lives but it’s also a story of finding oneself, of life after grief and the possibility of happiness. And just look at that cover! I don’t think I need to say anymore to convince to read this, do I?

I love that this book is told from 2 perspectives, Linny’s & Sebastian’s, in that we all get to see what’s in their minds and therefore, how their minds work. They were both consumed with their own issues yet that first & subsequent sparks as they meet jolted them to life a bit at a time. Each chapters are imbued with their personalities; Linny’s are full of colours, notes of missing persons (why wasn’t there one on Agatha Christie?!), and her film manuscript drafts whilst Sebastian’s are full of scientific facts or Sebastian’s fact of life in scientific speak.

If Birds Fly Back was so easy to read and I fell in love with the characters from the beginning. It’s very cute & very sweet with a good dose of humour despite the deep sadness the characters were feeling. I’m pegging this as a pick-me-up sort of read… need one now? I highly recommend this book as your comfort read!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Carlie Sorosiak grew up in North Carolina and holds two master’s degrees: one in English from Oxford University and another in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University, London. Her life goals include travelling to all seven continents and fostering many polydactyl cats. She currently splits her time between the US and the UK, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  twitter  | youtube  |  instagram

 

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Review: Ambulance Girls

Ambulance Girls by Deborah Burrows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: Paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Ever since I fell completely in adoration of Deborrah Burrows’ last book, A Time of Secrets a couple of years ago, I’ve been waiting for another book. And while I was waiting, I kinda stalk her on Goodreads and twitter so I knew she’s been traipsing (sorry, researching) all over London when living there. I greeted the cover reveal of Ambulance Girls with a squeal of excitement and I think my heart might have stopped for mo when I received a copy in the mail.

Firstly, I do love this cover and I really like war historical fiction especially when this particular book’s main character was inspired by a real life historical Aussie woman serving in the London Auxiliary Ambulance Station during the Blitz. There were a lot of things I learnt from this novel about women during the Blitz. I guess there have been quite a number of books or even documentaries but the way it was written here made it all the more real to me. It was obvious that a lot of research was done in the writing of this novel and not just about the women or the Blitz as novel itself feels like veritable literary tour of London.

The novel opens with Lily on duty and having to face one of her fears of enclosed spaces. It was a great start to the novel and you’d easily fall in love with Lily. Her other fears though were not as easily conquered… Aside from her courage, empathy, and her wish to do well unto others, she’s also got a great sense of humour. Maybe that’s her Aussie flavoured humour that coloured her interactions with her friends and gave the book a reminiscent air. We follow Lily through her struggles with daily life during the Blitz; the grief of losing a friend and the joy of falling in love. There were some shaky moments where I thought things were just not going to be right with this book but thankfully, all was made quite well! I had to give the book a bit of a hug from relief and an affectionate pat when I finished reading for I was well & truly shaken.

There were a number of characters both likeable and despicable in this book and the variety and dynamics between these characters were really quite interesting. The book is told from Lily’s perspective only so in a way, we miss out on a lot about the other characters as only a few were well developed. However, as this is the first book of a trilogy, I do believe we will get to know some of the others quite well later on (and I look forward to this!). What you cannot mistake in this novel is the author’s views on anti-semitism (ignorant) and Hitler (evil); she’s loud and clear on that front. Hear! Hear! These things can never be stated enough and whilst Hitler is gone, there are still those like him & share his views.

If you loved the show, Call the Midwife, or the books that inspired it, you would love Ambulance Girls. Lily Brennan may not be English but she’s as brave as those midwives in facing uncertainties & adversities of the time. And I dare say that her Australian personality shone through especially against the foil of English reserved façade.

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Blog Tour: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

freeksFreeks by Amanda Hocking

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

My Blurb

I’ve probably said it enough times that thanks for Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus series, I have this deep abiding love for circus in fiction. Needless to say, I was drawn to this novel by the fact that this is set within a circus sort of scene. The difference is that this is actually a travelling sideshow so you know… lots of those strange and wonderful and not-so-wonderful things! You go there to be entertained, to be horrified, and to have lots of stupid fun.

I didn’t realise that this book is a spin-off of some sort of the Trylle Trilogy and I’ve not actually read them yet so I can’t tell you (if you’re a fan) if this compares well to the original trilogy or if any of previous characters is in this book though from what I can see on Goodreads, they seem to have different sets of characters. After reading this book though, I am rather curious of this world as it’s paranormal with a gothic vibe (especially with all the ‘freeks’ or to be PC, specially talented people).

For some reason, it rather shocked me that the whole book is set in late ’80s. I mean why would you set a book in the ’80s? Especially a YA? However, there are a lot of historical/paranormal YA books set in 19th century & other periods so why not the ’80s?! It really is an historical period despite the fact that I was already alive then :p Of course, quite a few things resonate with me (ie. cassettes, music, etc) and that brings back other memories.

Freeks is a very easy read though rather long. The main characters were easily likeable. The mystery was acceptable. The ending was rather abrupt but totally as I expected. Overall, it was a rather average read; entertaining enough but missing that particular sparkle. I think there was too much in the middle and the build-up for the final confrontation didn’t quite deliver. It’s a cute read for the romance and of course, the ‘circus’ feel.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Amanda Hocking is a lifelong Minnesotan obsessed with Batman and Jim Henson. In between watching cooking shows, taking care of her menagerie of pets, and drinking too much Red Bull Zero, she writes young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Several of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers list, including the Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her zombie series, The Hollows, has been adapted into a graphic novel by Dynamite. She has published over fifteen novels, including the Watersong quartet and My Blood Approves series. Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom – all three books in her bestselling trilogy, The Kanin Chronicles – are out now.

Her latest book is Freeks – a standalone YA paranormal romance novel set in the 1980s that follows a travelling sideshow, and it is a available now. Her next books will be a duology about Valkyries – due out in 2018.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  tumblr  | facebook  | youtube  | instagram

Review: Lessons in Loving

lessons in loving

Lessons in Loving by Peter McAra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC via NetGalley

The synopsis of this novella appealed to me and the openly named male author (writing historical romance!!) added to the curiosity. I do realise there are a number of male authors who published romance novels under a rather feminine nom de plumes though I’m not really aware who’s who.

There were a number of things I loved about this novel aside from the romantic premise. I love this era in Australia; there were many possibilities and opportunities amidst the harshness of the place. I really do like Kate’s character and whilst, Tom’s very male appearances appealed, I’m not quite sure about his personality; he seems to need the push to think for himself (there were many frustrating moments).

Lessons in Loving was a fairly easy & quick read. I did, however, find the supposed humorous camaraderie between Kate & Tom a little bit awkward / forced. I rather felt that it was ‘put on’ a bit. But it really is one you could read without putting too much of an effort in; one for relaxation, a sweet fluffy read.

Thanks to Escape Publishing for copy eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden ~ Excerpt + Giveaway

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PMPM

Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.

Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.

Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.

Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.

When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.

Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.

Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?

Or should they save their hearts and just let go?

Buy: Amazon  |  B&N  |  booktopia

VanessaA bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her books, Vanessa enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

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Excerpt

“Are you in a lot of pain?” It was a stupid question. My eyes travelled to the front of his shirt.

He pulled back a little, as if to protect his wound from my intrusive gaze.

“I’m fine, Ruby,” he said, but kept his eyes trained on the ceiling, his expression unreadable.

“How long have you had this one for?” I reached out and gently traced my trembling finger along the thin silvery line on his face and neck, moving from his jaw down to his collarbone.

Byron closed his eyes and exhaled raggedly. “A long time. Don’t look at it,” he rasped. “It’s ugly.”

I swallowed thickly and gazed at the fine structure of his face, at the thick lashes resting against his cheekbones and the sensual swell of his lips. “Nothing about you could ever be ugly.”

At my words, Byron opened his eyes and fixed them on me. He gently tugged my arm and waist, rolling me on top of him. He breathed hard from the exertion.

I blushed from being so close to his face and sat up, straddling him, my thighs on either side of his waist.

“You’re so beautiful, Ruby,” Byron whispered, his hands finding my hips.

I shifted slightly, conscious of the growing hardness I could feel beneath me.

Outside, the sky was darkening, but there was just enough light coming in through the window for me to see the look on Byron’s face. I’d never been looked at like this before.

“Come here,” he whispered, sliding his hands from my hips up my lower back, gently pressing me down.

I bent and hovered over him, careful not to apply any pressure to his chest, but Byron wrapped an arm around my waist and slid a hand behind my neck and gently pressed me down so that I could feel every inch of his firm body beneath me. The sensation made my pulse quicken and my heart stutter. A flush, hotter than the recent weather, burned through my veins and heated my body.

Against my neck, Byron’s breath came faster.

Our lips came together, soft and chaste at first, but as soon as our tongues touched the kiss grew deeper and harder. Byron’s hands slid up my back to tangle in my hair while I ran my hand through his.

He moaned softly and suddenly the kiss kicked up a gear. Our hands crossed paths and we entwined our fingers together, briefly, before moving on to touch each other’s bodies, wherever our hands could reach. Every inch of Byron felt hard, whereas, beneath his careful touch, he made me feel soft like I was something delicate and precious. It was exquisite.

I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to somehow meld us into one person.

I drew him tight against me and he groaned against my mouth, the sound sending a jolt of excitement to my lower belly, that is, until he stiffened beneath me and pushed me off.

I hadn’t pleasured him, I’d hurt him.

“Are you okay?” I knelt beside him, horrified at what I’d done, my hands hovering over his chest.

Byron remained on his back, his chest rising and falling in short, sharp rasps, his jaw tense, his hands twisting at my bed cover.

“I’m so sorry. Is it bad? What should I do?”

“It’s okay. Don’t be sorry,” he whispered hoarsely, looking away. “It’s not your fault, Ruby. It’s me.”

“I’m the one who crushed you,” I said softly.

He sighed and steadied his breath.

“No. I mean, I shouldn’t be here, doing this…starting something with you…” he met my eyes, “…something that can never really go anywhere.” He exhaled, it sounded harsh and angry. “Remember, I’m leaving soon, Ruby.”

I tied my hair up with the band I kept around my wrist and tried to keep my face neutral so that he couldn’t see how I really felt about him leaving. We’d only just gotten to know each other. I liked the guy. I didn’t want him to leave.

“Is this to do with your music? Because you want to tour? Or because of this…this thing with your parents?”

Byron smiled down at the bedcover, but it was a bittersweet smile. “I wish this was about something as simple as music.”

“Are you in a lot of pain?” It was a stupid question. My eyes travelled to the front of his shirt.

He pulled back a little, as if to protect his wound from my intrusive gaze.

“I’m fine, Ruby,” he said, but kept his eyes trained on the ceiling, his expression unreadable.

“How long have you had this one for?” I reached out and gently traced my trembling finger along the thin silvery line on his face and neck, moving from his jaw down to his collarbone.

Byron closed his eyes and exhaled raggedly. “A long time. Don’t look at it,” he rasped. “It’s ugly.”

I swallowed thickly and gazed at the fine structure of his face, at the thick lashes resting against his cheekbones and the sensual swell of his lips. “Nothing about you could ever be ugly.”

At my words, Byron opened his eyes and fixed them on me. He gently tugged my arm and waist, rolling me on top of him. He breathed hard from the exertion.

I blushed from being so close to his face and sat up, straddling him, my thighs on either side of his waist.

“You’re so beautiful, Ruby,” Byron whispered, his hands finding my hips.

I shifted slightly, conscious of the growing hardness I could feel beneath me.

Outside, the sky was darkening, but there was just enough light coming in through the window for me to see the look on Byron’s face. I’d never been looked at like this before.

“Come here,” he whispered, sliding his hands from my hips up my lower back, gently pressing me down.

I bent and hovered over him, careful not to apply any pressure to his chest, but Byron wrapped an arm around my waist and slid a hand behind my neck and gently pressed me down so that I could feel every inch of his firm body beneath me. The sensation made my pulse quicken and my heart stutter. A flush, hotter than the recent weather, burned through my veins and heated my body.

Against my neck, Byron’s breath came faster.

Our lips came together, soft and chaste at first, but as soon as our tongues touched the kiss grew deeper and harder. Byron’s hands slid up my back to tangle in my hair while I ran my hand through his.

He moaned softly and suddenly the kiss kicked up a gear. Our hands crossed paths and we entwined our fingers together, briefly, before moving on to touch each other’s bodies, wherever our hands could reach. Every inch of Byron felt hard, whereas, beneath his careful touch, he made me feel soft like I was something delicate and precious. It was exquisite.

I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to somehow meld us into one person.

I drew him tight against me and he groaned against my mouth, the sound sending a jolt of excitement to my lower belly, that is, until he stiffened beneath me and pushed me off.

I hadn’t pleasured him, I’d hurt him.

“Are you okay?” I knelt beside him, horrified at what I’d done, my hands hovering over his chest.

Byron remained on his back, his chest rising and falling in short, sharp rasps, his jaw tense, his hands twisting at my bed cover.

“I’m so sorry. Is it bad? What should I do?”

“It’s okay. Don’t be sorry,” he whispered hoarsely, looking away. “It’s not your fault, Ruby. It’s me.”

“I’m the one who crushed you,” I said softly.

He sighed and steadied his breath.

“No. I mean, I shouldn’t be here, doing this…starting something with you…” he met my eyes, “…something that can never really go anywhere.” He exhaled, it sounded harsh and angry. “Remember, I’m leaving soon, Ruby.”

I tied my hair up with the band I kept around my wrist and tried to keep my face neutral so that he couldn’t see how I really felt about him leaving. We’d only just gotten to know each other. I liked the guy. I didn’t want him to leave.

“Is this to do with your music? Because you want to tour? Or because of this…this thing with your parents?”

Byron smiled down at the bedcover, but it was a bittersweet smile. “I wish this was about something as simple as music.”

PushMePullMeGiveaway

Click on image (left) to enter the giveaway (INTL) of:

  • Push Me, Pull Me coffee mug filled with heart shaped chocolate and a $10 Amazon gift card.

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Review: Close to Home

close to homeClose to Home by Pamela Cook
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

I have really enjoyed reading outback romances as they usually involve animals and nature. In a way, this is like a sea-change or tree-change vicariously through these characters. The sounds and smell of the train fade away and I’ll be in the wide open spaces of the Australian outback. If you’ve not tried any outback romances yet, I’d recommend it. This is also my first Pamela Cook and I’m keen to check out her other 2 books.

I found Close to Home a little bit like one of those science thrillers (deadly disease etc) with a full dose of romance set in my own backyard. I can’t say that it’s as suspenseful as a thriller as it’s not meant to be one but it does give the story a bit of an edge which I’ve appreciated.

Close to Home is an enchanting tale of love and forgiveness. Amidst the threat of an outbreak of a contagious disease, a reunion of family and meetings of new friends will see them working together to fight for the wellbeing of the small hometown. A dark past is overshadowing the present but with acceptance, forgiveness, and an open heart, the future doesn’t have to be just as dark.

A lovely and engaging read in which time will fly pleasantly unnoticed. An easy book to get into and it warms the cockles of one’s heart.

Thanks to Hachette Australia via The Reading Room for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Golden Lies

golden liesGolden Lies by Barbara Freethy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: own ebook

Contemporary romance is not one of my staple diet so I don’t even know why I have this on my tbr… One of my strange moods, I’d say. However, since I drew this for January Random Reads, I stuck to my guns and read it.

It was fairly easy to read. The prologue was certainly intriguing and I do like the pairings. I felt like I was reading a type of soapie though… family drama, old secrets unearthed, unlikely lovers, etc etc etc. There wasn’t anything in particular that is grabby but it was a fair mindless read –perfect for middle of the night breastfeeds.

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