Category Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Book Review: ‘Moon River’ by Amber D. Tran

Title: Moon River

Published: 17th September 2016

Publisher: Little Creek Books

Author: Amber D. Tran

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amberdtran

Twitter: @amberdtran

 

Synopsis:

In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.

Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.

A novel that takes place in a small town in northern West Virginia, Moon River is a story that exploits the brutal honesty in growing up fast, loving too young, and losing too soon.

 

Review:

A coming of age story filled with some darker traits throughout in regards to what these children go through. From bullying, to sexual references at such a young age (main character is 9 to start with and story follows her for 5 years), depression, suicidal thoughts and selfishness from a few draining so-called friends.

It’s really a downward spiral right from the start with everything Abigail and Ryan go through. Ryan was Abigail’s first real crush. It only took one look and she was infatuated with him. In her mind he became the other half of her but it would take a year or so for him to really notice her. The first time they speak is at a very emotionally damaging event for her. She goes to a sleep over at Kimmie’s but it’s one of her friend’s that takes thing in a strange direction. Creating a right of passage so to speak for her to be included in the group. This was the first part that made it a bit uncomfortable to read and you can see how badly Abigail was affected by it. What almost finished in a horrible night takes a slight happier turn when Ryan, Kimmie’s cousin, turns up, even if it was embarrassing in how he caught her. When Kimmie says he asked about her after she left it only helped fuel her crush more.

Ryan’s birthday party is another key moment in joining them together, along with Kimmie and Scott, Abigail’s cousin, as it’s after this that they have a summer to remember. Involves kids just being kids with hanging out on bike rides or in the pool. Things soon change when school starts though. Its like the minute it did Ryan went back into himself and shut her out. You can already see the cracks start to appear with him and also slowly see how fragile Abigail is as well.

Things take a mark darker turn with the introduction of Lilly. (Sorry but bitch is thy name no matter her age). She starts out wanting to be Abigail’s friend, saying they are the same, connected like no other. When she starts dating someone it gives Abigail ideas about Ryan. Talking all night on MSN is one thing but she wants to feel connected to him when the world can see. She gets what she wishes but he has already started to slip further down the rabbit hole with his behavior and it’s not long before its trouble in paradise. Lilly and Ryan go darker into themselves and its not until the end when you find out Abigail was almost dragged down too. Lilly was an abuser, even at a young age, with how she treated Abigail. Walking all over her, bringing her down and alienating others. She might have been the catalyst but these kids already had a few problems that they were dealing with. Ryan didn’t need someone to follow him down into the darkness that seemed to pull at him from a young age. He needed someone to pull him into the light.

You feel for them all and hope for a different outcome but get the feeling very soon on that this isn’t a happily ever after read. Deals with a lot of issues that don’t get mentioned in books much. It was an interesting, but at times, hard emotional read that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel because I really disliked a certain character, along with the very strong language from the start which was a bit surprising given their ages, it made it harder to enjoy the book more but it was well written and definitely worth a look.

3.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Uncharted’ by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Title: Uncharted (Countermeasure: Bytes of Life #1)

Published: 24th April 2013

Authors: Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Authors.ChrisAlmeida.CeciliaAubrey

Twitter: @calmeidacaubrey

 

Synopsis:

The suspense driven Countermeasure Series combines full-length novels and Bytes of Life short stories about sexy, technologically inclined men and women. The series is filled with heart-stopping danger and enough twists and turns to make a hair-raising “roller coaster” seem tame. In the series, Trevor Bauer, a tough as nails NSA geek, and his even more tenacious love interest, Cassandra James, are on a quest for clues in the mysterious disappearance of Trevor’s parents. Joined by fate, their search drops them into the mysterious and violent world of data espionage, one that tests their love as they sweep the world with romance, sex, and ingenuity to find answers that will have the power to change their lives forever.

In the short prequel to Countermeasure, love is the utmost cardinal emotion and shines brightly as Conor and Maeve Brennan struggle with a life changing decision. In this glimpse into the hearts of the Brennans, you will see the strength of a love unlike any other–a love that transcends right and wrong. A love that remains unchallenged to this day.

NOTE: Countermeasure: Bytes of Life is a tie-in series to the Countermeasure Series novels. This new series of shorts gives the readers glimpses into the day-to-day life of the Countermeasure characters.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with two authors. A quick read to get you interested in the rest of the series.

An intriguing prequel giving you a glimpse into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peter’s parents Maeve and Conor Brennan. It doesn’t give too much away about the ‘why’ they are leaving, just that they are. A sailing trip like they do yearly but this one with an ulterior motive. To find out what the true motive is you will have to check out the series.

You can clearly see the love they have for each other, and their son, and willingness to do what they must when times are at there worst. Which seems to be right from the start, though we never find out why. It has the ability to grip you, even with only being short. Leaves you wanting more, which is a good pull towards the series. Are they doing what they are doing to protect their son, themselves or maybe both?

Well-written short read that makes you wonder what, or rather whom, they could be running from and whether they will ever be able to come back.

3 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Shattered’ by Janet Nissenson

Title: Shattered (Inevitable #3)

Published: 28th April 2015

Publisher: BookBaby

Author: Janet Nissenson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/janetnissensonauthor

Twitter: @JNissenson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7375780.Janet_Nissenson

 

Synopsis:

The Ghost

Angela Del Carlo has been living half a life, ever since he walked out on her, shattering her entire existence and leaving her to cope with picking up the fragments. Nothing seems to matter much anymore, and her life is a drab existence of work, run, repeat. She’s forgotten how to laugh, how to love, and even how to live. Most days she’s little more than a ghost.

The Devil

Nick Manning’s life has been one lived without compromise, without rules, and without regrets. Except for his one weakness, his one regret – Angela. What he did to her still tugs at his conscience, still fills him with remorse, and continues to haunt his dreams. But he stays away, knowing that he can never be the man she needs or give her what she deserves.

The Angel

But when fate intervenes and Angela’s and Nick’s paths cross again, she’s determined not to surrender her soul to the devil ever again, while he’s desperate to have his angel back in his arms – even if it means changing the rules to get it done.

 

Review:

Loved this from start to finish and can’t wait to storm through the rest of the series. Brilliant layout with a snippet from present day (The Ghost, where Angela is barely living, a shell of her former self), going back five years to when her and Nick first met and started ‘seeing’ each other (The Devil, you can see why she would fall for the Devil in every way), and then back to present day again (The Angel, where we see her slowly but surely coming back to herself, seems the Devil might play a part in that too. Well he did break her so it’s only right he tries to put her back together). Good way of doing it that you don’t hear from Nick’s POV until the third part. Makes you feel more for Angela (his Angel) and what she felt the whole time they were together. Its like finally hearing him has you filling in the blanks and you finally get to know the real Nick and why he acted/still acts the way he does. Someone when he shows it really does care.

When Angela first meets Nick she is in ore of him, an attraction so strong that she almost doesn’t know how to handle her feelings being so young and a bit naive. They work at the same office, him older and much higher up as she is just starting out. She knows through the gossipmongers that he doesn’t date co-workers so knows her chances are beyond slim but the look he gives her when she sees him for the first time gives her a bit of hope. Good job that he likes to take the lead, as she would never have been bold enough to go up to him first to talk, even at a work event. Seems his actions only get her pulse racing more as its not long before he has swept her away for a private dinner. One where he makes it very clear how much he wants her. Talk about bold move as its not long before they make it back to her place. But is this a one-night stand or could it be more? Seems it could be more but the ‘more’ part comes attached with a lot of rules. Rules she may be willing to live with if given the chance to be with him, if only for a while.

Chemistry between them past and present is off the frigging roof. Present has a lot of anger and hurt thrown in for good measure but you can still see passion bubbling below the surface. But back to the past and how they began seriously this was some hot stuff they got up to. Man alive Nick has some stamina; you might need to fan yourself down at times. We are talking hours on end here until she was pretty much fucked into a coma. That was one area she never minded him taking complete control over her with his rules but its his other ones that would slowly start to make her crack. The main crack in her soul being when she breaks his biggest rule, falling in love him. It’s when this rule gets broken that the house of cards comes crumbling down. She is shattered into a thousand pieces and even after years apart she still hasn’t fully put herself back together again.

When fate puts them back in each other’s paths it seems Nick wants her back but this time would have to be a hell of a lot better. He would need to change and that’s something she doesn’t think he would ever be able to do. He broke her once; if he did it again she knows she would be destroyed. No amount of time would heal her so lets hope he gets his head out of his arse and goes the right way about things this time around. For a man with so many rules its fun to when he’s the one that breaks them.

Now Nick might have been a dick for how he treated her when they broke up but her family, especially her mother and sisters, were complete arseholes. Her dad needed to grow a backbone and show her the love she deserved, something you are hoping and smiling for near the end.

Lauren on the other hand was fabulous throughout. Loved her in Serendipity and can’t wait to read her story. Julia was still a sweety through and through and of course the delicious Nate makes an appearance too. Well they do get married in this one so you’d hope so. Another great read in this Inevitable series and I can’t wait to get to the next.

5 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘The Sugar Baby Club’ by Teresa Lo

 

Published: 22nd March 2017

Author: Teresa Lo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/teresalowriter

Twitter: @teresalo_tweets

 

Synopsis:

Sick of “hanging out” and hookup culture, college freshman Jasmine Lewis decides to try out a new kind of dating—sugar dating. After watching a documentary about sugar daddies, she and her roommate Kita Okoye sign up for Searching Sweet Sugar, a sugar dating site that promises to change young girls’ lives for the better. After meeting a few salt daddies, terrible men who abuse the system, Jasmine and Kita land the sugar daddies of their dreams, men who shower them with money, Louis Vuitton, and vacations. Their newfound, glamorous lifestyle attracts the attention of girls in their residence hall, and soon, Jasmine and Kita find themselves running a make shift dating agency from their dorm room.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a beautiful cover. The cover is very creative and fun. When college guys just don’t cut it these girls start to look for something a bit more high-end. Sugar dating seems to be the way to go but that doesn’t mean a few salts don’t get in there too.

The story starts with Jasmine and Kita after a bit of a disappointing night out that ends with them being taken in by police after being found clearly tipsy back on campus. Bad to worse when Kita’s father starts pushing his weight around. Her dream of studying in Paris for a year being pushed right out the window when he refuses to pay anymore. Though really I think he was just waiting for her to mess up so she wouldn’t get to go. Dreams crushed she knows there’s no way to get the 40k needed but it seems Jasmine might have found a way. Mainly after she sees a website called Searching Sweet Sugar. Explaining just how much money and gifts they could get while being treated like a princess. An idea is born were they will sign up to see just what they could get. The sugar daddies range in ages from 20s to 60s and their wages increasing with age. Jasmine decides Paris seems like a good idea too as her prospects at school with art are failing. They have a year to make 80k. What could possibly go wrong?

Seems to get a good sugar daddy you have to go through a few salts. Those guys you just want to stay clear of but lessons need to be learned. A few weeks in and they seem to be doing ok with the treats they’ve been given – cash, shoes, diamond bracelets and a holiday to paradise. Trip not in vain it seems when a local guy gives them some sleepy powder that might just come in handy if they really don’t want to go there with a daddy. Its not long though before they seem to get attached to certain daddies – Jasmine with Matthew who wants a fairytale romance vibe and Kita with Tyson an artist in the making – but is that really wise when feelings get involved?

Britney’s soon to follow in with the fun that can be had but she may be feeling a little closer to Jasmine than her sugar daddies. Seems once word gets out more and more want to join them. Soon the Sugar Baby Club is born. Jasmine and Kita plan on helping the girls weed out the salts for a cut of what the girls might make. Got to get that Paris fund growing! With very strict campus policies though they don’t seem as clued in one what could go down if they get caught. What could possibly go wrong when these girls put their heads together?

Amusing comical read following these girls through the trials of sugar dating. Some fail some pass but all seem to get what they want out of it in the end. That goes for both parties too.

Side note: Eggs are funny for payback for whatever the reason so people should watch out.


4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Sunset Promises’ by Savannah Kade

Title: Sunset Promises (Hollywood Nights Book 2)

Published: 4th May 2017

Publisher: Griffyn Ink Publishing

Author: Savannah Kade

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReadSavannahKade

Twitter: @SavannahKade

 

Synopsis:

~~ Sexy, emotional, often funny, always messy, true love romance ~~

Brandon and Marco were always inseparable, so when Bree married Brandon, she wasn’t surprised that A-list movie star Marco DeLuca was now part of her family. But the police at her doorstep can’t be bringing good news. Though Bree supposedly has all the tools she needs—Brandon’s life insurance policy and the support of family and friends—and Marco has been through this before, there is no real skill set for loss and no death is ever easy.

As Bree and Marco navigate the troubled waters of losing Brandon, they realize there’s more between them than just friendship. But how do they make that transition? And is it worth the possible heartbreak?

They’ve had each other all along, and maybe becoming something more than friends isn’t wrong.

Follow Jenn, Bree, Zoe and Jessica as they navigate the glitz and shine of Hollywood. Can be read as a standalone. This series has real emotion, hard won happy endings, and smoking hot romance.

 

Review:

This one will pull on the heartstrings from the first chapter onwards. Loved it from start to finish with how the story and romance unfolded from friendship to something more.

Heartbreak for Bree as right at the start she finds out that Brandon her husband has died in a car accident, the shock of it bringing her to her knees. Her mother and friends might be able to stay for a few days weeks at most to help her through but its not until Marco turns up that she finally has someone who feels like she does. Brandon and Marco were friends forever, to the point of being as close as brothers. Marco was taken in as a member of Brandon’s family as he had none of his own left. When you meet his parents they are just lovely. Bree’s on the other hand are a bit crazy, full of snide comments and do nothing but make everyone feel a bit uncomfortable. When Brandon met Bree they became a trio of sorts and the closest of friends. To the point that whenever Marco was in town he would stop on over at their place, even having a key and room of his own. So when Bree hears the door you almost wish with her that it’s really Brandon coming through the door but Marco is a close second at the time. He can tell something is wrong but at first she doesn’t want to say anything. Its like if you don’t mention it then it never happened. But living in a dream world never lasts and soon reality crashes in around them both. They are both hurting with the loss but Bree seems to be making herself sick by losing weight. Marco all but drags her to get checked out, the result being somewhat surprising. A reason to live for soon comes front and centre of her mind with a positive pregnancy result.

Bree needs Marco more than anything now with a baby on the way. She might be financially secure from Brandon’s life insurance but needs emotional support too. Marco was always a best friend to her as well as Brandon so it’s not long before they step into a pattern of survival soon turned into living when he stays with her. With Marco’s Hollywood career at an all time high though there are just some jobs that he can’t say no to. When one comes along he doesn’t want to let Bree be by herself so convinces her to come along. A way to breathe again somewhere new as her pregnancy progresses, also a way to get back into the working world with being the sets doctor. People at the start, mainly her crazy family, don’t think its right that they are so close and claiming that nothing is happening between them and at the time there isn’t, that’s not till later.

A really liked that the friendship stayed as long as it did before turning into something else. When her son Sean is born its Marco who is his father with how he cares and acts around him. They are a family unit and neither would think about taking it to another level but outside forces seem to be making things change. Well the outside force for Bree is her friend Jenn pretty much saying why haven’t you gone there yet and for Marco its not until he sees Bree in a red bikini on another film shoot a few months after Sean is born. He notices the body first and has one hell of a reaction and then feels like a bucket of cold water is thrown on him when he sees that it is Bree. Seems they both want to take the next step but would doing so threaten the life and friendship that they have built for themselves?

A slow burn chemistry to start but they do start to pick up some heat. But can Marco ever feel like he isn’t just filling in Brandon’s shoes. He needs to get out of his head to see what is in front of him or he might lose what he wants most. A family of his own with the woman he loves. Emotional rollercoaster but had a very realistic feel throughout which I really liked. Another great read and can’t wait to see how the series progresses.

Her friend Jenn was a laugh and liked to tell it straight. She seemed surer of herself this time round and I warmed to her quicker than her own story Wildest Dreams but that’s probably because she’s been with Walker for a while now. Nice that they have a happier ending when Mina is born after the heartbreak of losing their first baby.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from Griffyn Ink Publishing for my honest review.

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