Thursday, April 23, 2015

7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells- Cover Reveal!!

It's here!!!! The cover of Nicky Well's next novel, 7 Years Bad Sex, is here!! I've already had the chance to read and enjoy my copy, and I can assure you that her next novel is one not to be missed, for both current fans and new fans of Nicky's novels. Read on for a blurb and a chance to win a copy!

7 Years Bad Sex

One wedding. One curse?  Disaster ever after…

A seven-years-bad-sex curse? Surely not! Yet something went wrong when rock singer Casey and drummer Alex got married on that beautiful yacht anchored off St Tropez in the south of France. Something went badly wrong. For even on their wedding night, the young couple discovers a complete and somewhat surprising inability to make love. Muddling through their honeymoon with a string of thin excuses for their predicament, the lovers defer finding a solution (and panicking) until the return to their home in London. After all, they married for life and to make rock music, not for the love of sex. Right?

But when they resume life as normal in London, all hell breaks loose. Increasingly frantic in their quest for release, the unhappy newlyweds embark on a string of hilarious and occasionally harmful antics that drives them, their band, and an assortment of random strangers to the brink of despair. But it ain’t over ‘til it’s over or, in this case… it ain’t over ‘til the newlyweds sing.

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS
Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and ad-hoc radio show presenter. Rock on!

***Coming May 2015: 7 Years Bad Sex!***

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Want to win a signed paperback of 7 Years Bad Sex from Nicky? Click on this link to enter to win! The contest runs until May 10, and is open to US, Canada and the UK! Good luck!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Wish You Were Here" by Catherine Alliott

When a good deed done by James leads to Flora, James, and their two teenage daughters being invited to a fabulous villa in the south of France belonging to a famous opera singer, they jump at the chance to leave it all behind for a while. They exchange their everyday worries about the mortgage and their jobs and their future for a chance to leave it all behind and just relax. What they are not expecting is that their baggage from home can follow them anywhere.

James develops a school boy's crush on their famous host, Flora's past comes back to haunt her, and their relatives and their troubles join them in France, and suddenly their blissful holiday takes a not- so- blissful turn. Will their dream vacation turn into a nightmare?

Wish You Were Here was, at times, a blissful and fun retreat into the south of France with the Murray-Browns and their wacky friends and family members. I liked Flora and James and their daughters most times, but the supporting characters were the ones that really stood out to me, especially Flora's hippie mother who loves her family so much! I also really loved James's father, even though he didn't often take a starring role in the book. I didn't like Flora and James's daughter Amelia, who was selfish and spoiled, but I suppose that it is a reflection on how many of the kids of today act.

I'm a big fan of Catherine Alliott, but this wasn't my favourite book of hers so far. It started off pretty slow for me, and truthfully I didn't care much for Flora, James, or their children. Thankfully it picked up for me when I was about halfway through the story, and I started really enjoying the plot, and I definitely appreciated the ending.

Wish You Were Here was the story of one family's life-changing vacation in the south of France. It was a thought-provoking story about marriage and fidelity and parenthood and finding happiness in whatever stage of life you are in, and I enjoyed this light, engaging read. My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy for review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Happiness for Beginners" by Katherine Center

Helen is 32 and has been divorced from a man who loved drinking more than he loved her for a year now, and she knows that it's time for her to be strong and to move on with her life. Knowing that she needs to do something symbolic in order to get past everything that happened, she signs up for a three week wilderness survival course- one that doesn't have the best reputation for actual survival.

Discovering that her younger brother Duncan's annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, and that somehow she has been volunteered to drive him to Wyoming where the course is taking place, changes her mind about the trip. She's sure that it will now be nothing short of a disaster. But what she finds is something entirely different- perhaps it will be on the brink of disaster that she can finally find happiness again.

I picked up Happiness for Beginners and started to read it....and then I couldn't put it down. I became caught up in the story of Helen- prickly on the outside but genuinely a person who wants to be loved despite that. I loved Josh, Duncan's best friend, from the very beginning as well. It's hard not to. He's charming and sweet to Helen, and he seems to only see the best in her despite her guarded nature. As we delve deeper into the story and we discover what tragedy Helen has been through, and what secret Josh is hiding, I liked both characters even more.

Katherine Center has created endearing secondary characters too, and although I liked almost none of Helen's survival group at the beginning of the story, by the end I found them all to be entertaining or interesting in some way. Center's absorbing writing kept me reading page after page, long after it was time for me to put the book down. Most interesting to me was how Center got me thinking about happiness, and about what truly makes me happy in life. That message was there, but not in a hit-you-over-the-head preachy way, and I appreciated that even more. It was subtle but enlightening.

Happiness for Beginners was a satisfying story of one woman's quest to find herself, and her own happiness, after a painful divorce. It wasn't the first book that I've read by Center and it certainly won't be the last. It was enjoyable to the last page, and I thank the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Two For the Heart" by Ekta R. Garg

"The Proposal": Pooja and Ashkay have both been corralled into marriage by their families despite their lack of desire to be hitched, so they come up with a fool-proof plan. They marry in order to please their respective families and then plan to quietly divorce soon afterwards. But will their plan backfire?

"Remembrance": Helen wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of what brought her there. What she does know is that her estranged sister won't leave her alone, despite Helen's repeated requests for her to do so. When she remembers what led to her arrival in the hospital, will she want her sister with her or will she push her away?

Ekta R. Garg has created a unique premise for a collection of short stories: stories released in pairs. Each pair will follow a common theme and will contain some sort of connection, and half of the fun is figuring that connection out.

I'll admit that I don't usually read short stories, but not for any particular reason. This collection of short stories, intended to be released in pairs throughout the year, caught my attention and encouraged me to read a format that I haven't read in a while, and I'm glad that I did! Both stories were the perfect short story- they left the reader wanting more, as any good short story should, but they also answered enough questions that I was left satisfied. I have read novellas and short stories in the past that felt like they should have been full-length but were instead compressed into a novella format, but Two For The Heart truly felt like they worked best as short stories. I enjoyed meeting the characters, albeit briefly, and I quickly came to care about them. The writing was concise and the plots interesting, and I enjoyed figuring out the connection between the two stories.

Garg plans to release more stories throughout the year in pairs, and I enjoyed these so much that I know I will be eagerly awaiting those releases. Like an amuse-bouche, these delightful short stories whet my appetite for more. My thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for review.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Wishful Thinking" by Kami Wicoff

Who among us doesn't wish that they could be in more than one place at a time?

Divorced mother-of-two Jennifer Sharpe is burning the candle at both ends. Working a job with incredible demands on her time, sleeping on the sofa bed in her tiny apartment because her ex-husband is "pursuing his acting career" and not paying support, and left with little time for her children or a social life, she often wishes that she could be in more than one place at a time. When she loses her phone one night and finds it outside of her apartment door the next morning with a mysterious new app installed called "Wishful Thinking", Jennifer finds that she can do just that. With the help of her app-creating neighbor, physicist Dr. Diane Sexton, suddenly Jennifer is able to work until 8 pm every night and be home with her children in the evening at the same time. Jennifer is living the dream, even able to pursue a relationship with her son's handsome and charismatic guitar teacher in thanks to the app's time travel properties, but then the realities of time travel start to make themselves knows to her. She finds herself exhausted much of the time, unable to remember important details about friends, and she finds herself aging more quickly due to the multiple times that she lives each hour of each day. She, along with her best friend, know that she needs to stop using the app. But will Jennifer be able to cope without the app? Will she be able to find a balance that allows her to live happily ever after?

I love the concept of Wishful Thinking and I found myself absorbed in the plot early on. It was hard not to like Jennifer Sharpe. It was clear from the beginning that she adored her two small boys and would do anything for them, but it was also apparent that she had no choice but to work punishing hours in order to support them single-handedly and put food on the table. I think that any working mother, divorced or otherwise, can relate to how Jennifer feels. That is likely why I found myself so taken with this story from the very beginning! I miss the days when I was able to volunteer at my sons' schools or read them an extra chapter or two at night before bed, but being a working parent certainly puts time constraints on day-to-day life. This is likely why I found the app Wishful Thinking such a fun concept. Imagine being able to be in two places at once! Hard at work until 8 pm, while being home with your family at the same time! However as with any good story about time travel, I knew that things would, at some point, go spectacularly wrong. They did, but with an important lesson to go along with the mishaps. Is there such thing as being too much? Doing too much? I believe that there is. We, as women, as mothers, as employees, tend to try to be everywhere at once. We aim for perfection, and we often exhaust and disappoint ourselves in the process. Perhaps it is time for us to step back and just be, to allow ourselves to be the best that we can be, and to remind ourselves that it is ok for us to be less than perfect from time to time. That is what I took away from Wishful Thinking.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wishful Thinking. I enjoyed the writing style, the underlying message, and all of the characters. I enjoyed getting to know Jennifer as well as getting to know her best friend and Dr. Diane Sexton. The characters came alive on the pages and I related to each of them in some way. They were all doing their best to find their own happiness, and I appreciated them for that. While the concept of the time-travel app was fascinating, what I really appreciated was the underlying theme- we are all perfect as we are, and that it is more important for us to find balance in our lives than to burn out trying to do it all. This was a thought-provoking read, and one that I will definitely be recommending. My thanks to the publicist for inviting me to participate in this book tour!

Monday, April 6, 2015

"My Father's Wives" by Mike Greenberg

Jonathan Sweetwater has it all- a fulfilling, high-profile career, a devoted wife, and two beautiful children whom he adores. Coming home early from the office one day, a rarity in Jonathan's world, he happens upon a man and a woman, in his guest bedroom, naked. Only seeing them from behind, he observes that the woman looks much like his wife Claire. But could it be? Could his wife be cheating on him? Hiring a private investigator to find out what he scarcely wants to know himself, Jonathan decides to pursue more information about his father, whom he has not seen since he was 9 years old, and who is now dead, by meeting and speaking with his father's six wives, some of whom he has never met before. In his pursuit of these women and of the answers that they might hold to his own past, will Jonathan find what he seeks? Will he find out the answers about his father and about his own marriage that he is so desperately looking for?

I absolutely love Mike Greenberg's writing style. He writes with charisma and I found myself thinking about My Father's Wives even when I wasn't reading it. I was invested in the story and the characters from the beginning. Jonathan Sweetwater, despite his rocky relationship with his father, seems pulled-together and admirable. He has a solid relationship with his mother, his wife, and his children, and a job that most would find more than respectable. He doesn't gamble or drink excessively or cheat. His carefully ordered world falls apart around him when he believes that he catches his wife cheating on him, and suddenly he finds that not only does he have questions about his wife's fidelity, but he has questions about why his late father left him at such a young age and didn't ever want to have contact with him again.

This is where the story lost me a little, as far as plot goes. I could understand why Jonathan wanted to reach out to his father's ex-wives, to meet them and to learn more about his absent father. He seemed to be searching for the answer to a specific question, though, which he often expressed to the ex-wives. The problem is that he didn't know what question he was looking for the answer to. He told one of the ex-wives that he was searching for something, but that he didn't know what. We never do find out what question about his father Jonathan holds in his heart. I also found that the book shifted from being about Jonathan and his marriage, to Jonathan and his father. Both were valid parts of the plot, but I failed to see how they connected. He seems aimless in his quest, and this leaves the story feeling rather aimless as well.

Despite the rather unsatisfying conclusion (we never really find out the answers to the questions that we, as readers, have) I truly enjoyed My Father's Wives. The plot, while directionless at times, was interesting, the characters fleshed-out and fascinating. I couldn't put the book down and found the writing compelling. This raises an interesting point for me as a reader and blogger- despite the fact that the plot often wandered and that the conclusion was not what I was looking for (two things that are often crucial to my enjoyment of a book), I still really enjoyed the book. Perhaps that is a testament to Mike Greenberg's talent as an author, and I, for one, can't wait to read what he comes out with next. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: "The Firelight Girls" by Kaya McLaren

Ethel, former camp director of Camp Firelight on Lake Wenatchee, is facing a dual loss. Not only has she lost her partner of many years, Haddie, but she is on the verge of losing the beloved camp that she has called home for decades. The camp has been plagued by financial problems for years and the national directors are unable to justify keeping the doors open any longer. Ethel invites several former camp employees, also known as The Firelight Girls, to come and help close up the camp for good before it is sold.

Answering the request for volunteers is Shannon, a teacher who has grown weary of the restricted system that she is teaching in and is longing for a fresh start, Laura, who watched her last child depart for college recently and is struggling to reconnect with her distant husband, and Ruby, who committed a great wrong against Ethel many years ago and is hoping to make things right between them. When these four very different women find a runaway teen hiding in the cabins they decide that some things are worth fighting for and they attempt to save their beloved camp.

The Firelight Girls tells an important story. The one thing that unites these four women is their various experiences at Camp Firelight. The Firelight Girls reminds us that the experiences that we have at camp, and the things that we learn, are important, and those experiences continue to shape us even later on in life. Anyone who has been to camp can attest to the fact that camp is a unique experience that shapes many aspects of our adulthood. I personally went to camp for a week every summer for several years as a child. I made life long friends, one whom I see at least yearly still. I wrote countless letters to the friends that I met there during the school year. I thought about camp when I wasn't there. I learned a lot about myself as a person while I was there. Kaya McLaren has created a wonderful camp in The Firelight Girls that is bound to evoke pleasant memories for many.

The stories of each individual person- Ethel, Shannon, Laura, Ruby and Amber- were all incredibly interesting and well done. There are flashbacks and backgrounds for each character that helped us to understand who they are as people and how camp and their life experiences affected them. I especially loved the story of Ethel and Ruby. The history between them was fascinating and the flashbacks to their camp days were very well done. My one complaint would be that there was a lot going on in the book and often it was hard to keep track of all of the characters. Between flashbacks, modern day background stories, and trying to save the camp, there was a lot going on. I may have found it a little easier to keep track of everything if there were less characters with a more in-depth focus on each.

Reading The Firelight Girls was a pleasure. The story was enjoyable to read and the setting evoked some very positive memories and feelings for me personally. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and their stories. While there was nothing earth-shattering about the plot it was thoroughly enjoyable to read, like settling into a hot bath after a long day, and I would definitely read a book by this author again. My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book.