Category Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Book Review: ‘Single Chicas’ by Sandra C. Lopez

Title: Single Chicas

Published: 14th August 2016

Author: Sandra C. Lopez

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Lopez

 

Synopsis:

Perfection is a Barbie doll, and, unless you’re looking for a guy with a fake smile, a hard head, and no genitalia, then you’re better off NOT being perfect―Single Chicas

Single Chicas is a collection of stories about modern Latinas being in, out, and around the zany hurdles of relationships. One woman receives strange calls from a lonely soul, another seeks advice on how to love herself, and another wakes up in a parallel universe to a man she’s never met. These chicas will make painstaking effort to survive the complexities with humor and grace. Once again, López dazzles audiences with her brilliantly candid craft. Smart, witty, and funny, these stories will explore the true endurance of singlehood.

 

Review:

Funny, witty collection of short reads with a romance and single ladies ‘be proud’ vibe running throughout. Read in one sitting but would be good for the lunchtime read. A well rounded read that manages to hold your attention and make you laugh throughout.

MY BROTHER’S FUNERAL

When your brother is making a massive mistake in your eyes but you are powerless to stop it happening. This girl can’t let go of always looking out for him but at some point she’s going to have to let him go out into the world on his own or she might lose him for good.

HE LOVES ME (AND?)

Having a boyfriend who calls you to say he misses you hours after you left to go home from spending a week at his would grate on anyone’s nerves. You can see why this girl would be getting testy. It’s all in the title really. Why are you with him? Well he loves me. And?

THE LESBIAN THEORY

When you have a guy that just won’t get the message that you are not interested you may need to pull out some new tricks to get away. Seems this latest one back fires with a whole other set of problems.

NIGHT CALLER

Someone calling in the middle of night saying ‘love me’ is not a great way to meet someone. Especially when you don’t know them. First starts like a little bit of a stalker but get him to talk and things might change.

SINGLE CHICAS

Three girls heading up a website where people send in their problems for a bit of advise. Love the email chats and responses, funny and helpful vibe with these. Sometimes you just need to find out why something happened to be able to move on from it.

MY BIG FAT FAKE MARRIAGE

The pressure on some people to get married by their family can be great but none more so than here. One little white lie to get them off her back soon turns into an avalanche of problems rolling down the hill. Seems like another one might be needed to stop it.

ALWAYS A PRICE

Nothing is ever really free in life. Something our girl finds out the hard way when trying to get her flat tire fixed.

THE MARRIAGE ASSISTANT

Being stuck in the middle of a married couple whose family works together wouldn’t be somewhere I’d like to be. Especially when the dirty laundry starts to get aired.

OLD MAID

Everyone needs a little bit of company every now and then. When you feel alone after losing those you care for it might just take a little while to warm up to someone new. Cards anyone? Seems a game may be a way to break the ice and get some advice from someone older and wiser.

THE BALL DROP

Getting smacked on the head while out taking photos is not a good thing. But coming round feeling like you have stepped into twilight zone is worse. Waking up to find someone calling you honey and insisting they’re your boyfriend when you have no recollection of them would be enough to put anyone into a spin. The bump may have made her forget but perhaps it was meant to be to finally see what, or rather who, was in front of her all along. Doesn’t hurt that he’s sweet, caring and a bit of a looker.

VIRGIN MARY

With her head in a book instead of the clouds she was dubbed by her cousins the Virgin Mary with them thinking that she didn’t know anything about having fun. But it seems that the life she has had has more to it than meets the eye and might soon get others to question what things might have been different if they’d taken a different path too.

THE DISTRACTION

All she wants to do is read her book in peace while on a flight home but a certain distraction keeps her mind wondering. Well if a Stefan Salvatore look-a-like rocked on up to me wanting to talk I think I’d get a bit distracted too.

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: ‘The Missing Piece’ by Marie Lavender

Title: The Missing Piece

Published: 20th February 2017

Publisher: Solstice Publishing – Summer Solstice Imprint

Author: Marie Lavender

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter: @marielavender1

 

Synopsis:

The biggest mistake of Aly’s life could turn into the promise of new love…

When Alyssa wakes up on the lawn of a local fraternity, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. A new friend and frat guy, Justin, offers to help her out. As she makes discoveries that force her to accept a different reality, she finds herself drawn to Justin for a number of reasons.

Can the biggest mistake of Aly’s life turn into the promise of new love?

 

Review:

A fun short read that luckily didn’t go down a darker route with why Alyssa couldn’t remember what had gone on the night before which I was glad about.

So we’ve probably all overdone it at least once in our life in regards to drinking too much the night before but Alyssa is sure learning the hard way what the head and body feel like the day after. More so after she finds herself on a fraternity’s front lawn early the next morning. Clearly she went to a party the night before but she has absolutely no recollection of it, how she came to be there in the first place, or how she ended up on the front lawn. Confusion and panic soon start to creep in as snippets start to filter through about a conversation she had with her roommates. Seems she needs a knight in shinning armour to help get her home and hopefully fill in some blanks – enter Justin.

He remembers her from the party and has a few shocks in store when he tells her what she got up to and who she was spending time with. Seems the missing part of her memory could be filled in with a missing brother from the house – Brendan. Justin vows to help her find the missing time but the longer she spends with him the more she is grateful for how they met. An interesting way to meet someone but a spark is still coming to the surface nonetheless. He might be loyal to his friend thinking that on some level Justin and her might be together now but that doesn’t stop him feeling or acting the way he does. A knight in shinning armour to carry her away it seems. Even though he too is a stranger she feels comfortable with him and both feel like they have known each other forever with being so alike. I think we can all see where this story might lead.

For a short book it was still quite descriptive with the characters insights, back-story and the world as a whole they found themselves in. Quick contemporary romance that you know is just the start of what’s to come. Almost like the beginning of Alyssa and Justin’s story where you are only guessing on how it will move forward. Would be interesting to see how it would work as a longer read following the romance building more but fun all the same.

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: ‘Death Scares Me’ by Keelen D. Cloud

Title: Death Scares Me

Published: 9th February 2016

Author: Keelan Cloud

 

Synopsis:

Modern poetry and short stories.

 

Review:

An interesting collection of poems and short stories that start to interlock the further you get to the end. Some I liked more than others and some were a little stranger the deeper they went but overall an interesting read.

I liked the flow and pace of the ‘Real Good Country Girl’ poem. You could almost imagine it as a country song about a guy describing his perfect country girl with what she’d look like and how she’d act. I was almost humming a tune with it to see how it would go.

First Verse:

“I want a real good country girl

I want a real good country girl

She’ll be moral and chaste

With a pretty little face

Wearing ribbons and curls

In our beautiful world.”

Found a fun message from ‘Shopping at the Goodwill Store’ poem with how you can be thrifty with your money. Every loves a bargain and you can find some interesting buys, you just have to hunt for them. If you know where to look you will get a true find with money to spare.

The short story I liked was the one with the on going battle between a couple of farmyard tomcats fighting it out. The older one of them is protecting the honour of the female from the farm while the younger one is trying to become the new top cat. The battle commences but is set between a few parts. Each one is a winner and loser at certain points but it’s the younger one who always seems to bite off more than he can chew. Not just with their fight but with when other animals pop up too. They might hiss and spit at each other but need to mend fences or they will soon get a telling off from their owner. The battle is over and peace rains but how long before another starts? Oh to live the life of a cat. Eat, sleep, protect your territory, sleep, eat again, get some fuss from your owner and then sleep some more. Purrrfection!

3 out of 5 stars

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

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Book Review: ‘A Different Kind of Lovely’ by Petra March

Title: A Different Kind of Lovely: A Novel

Published: 23rd May 2017

Author: Petra March

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorPetraMarch

 

Synopsis:

A man with a damaged soul fell in love with a ballerina with a broken body.”

When Neal Medwin glimpses Mina Automne for the first time, he’s a man whose soul is darkened with memories of a painful past, whereas Mina is a vibrant, strong, young woman. She’s a determined ballerina who’s carefully planning and painting her life.
Neal steps into her existence and threatens to shatter Mina’s plans with an impossible request.

Mina can’t help the fragile man who’s invading her home, even though their parents used to be close friends and she knows of Neal’s hurtful background. She allows him to linger within her lovely and artistic world, however, hoping he might find some peace and solace.

Slowly, their conflict turns into friendship, and eventually into love, until a terrible discovery ruins Mina’s projects and forces her to let go of all her dreams, and of her sweet, damaged man.

Neal is unable to fight for Mina and for the unripe love they share, because he’s not ready to leave his past behind. He’s not strong enough – not yet.

(Ages 18+)

Publisher’s Note: This stand-alone Novel is a spinoff of Petra March’s award winning series, A Touch of Cinnamon.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about dancing or dancers. Another beautifully descriptive novel written by Petra March, one that takes the reader on a journey through a wealth of emotions from start to finish. A little repetitive at times but a good read all the same.

After the death of David everyone connected with him – family and friends alike – have all found it hard to move on passed their grief. All grieve in very different ways but all slowly need to find another/new reason to move forward and not live in the nightmares of the past. Something that Neal is slowly starting to learn after meeting Mina.

Neal is a broken soul of a man still struggling – like the rest of his family – with the sudden death of his brother David years before. His coping mechanism is to just shut down all his emotions, put on a mask and take care of his parents and sister. They call, ask him to do something, and its like he is powerless to refuse them. The latest task his mother sends him on is to purchase the cottage David stayed at before he died. One of the roads that lead to it being the one the accident happened on. A weird way to grieve on the anniversary but its what they do, buy something new to help push away their emotions. He thinks he’s just going to have a look as he thinks they are already selling but he gets a shock when the owner very much says she is not.

Mina is a ballet dancer with a passion to perform and live life to the full with her dream but it all comes crashing down when her body starts to betray her. Neal first spots her in a field dancing. Gliding across the land and through the air like a butterfly caught on the wind, soon to be his Butterfly. She caught his attention and drew him to her swiftly. When he follows her to the cottage and she finds out he wants to buy it it’s a push and pull feeling she has to deal with. He intrigues her so she wants him to stay but at the same time angers her with his intensions to buy her home making her want him to go. Seems their parents were friends once upon a time and hers thought to sell when they asked to buy without letting her know, even though the cottage is hers. Her dream being to build a dance studio out on the land and teach, after she has had a career with her ballet that is.

Seems to be heart and head, or should that be body and mind, are feeling very conflicted about what they are doing. Chemistry is a bit of a slow build between them as they try to get a feel for the other. The cottage and Mina’s memories of David help Neal to start to open up to his own. She knows his pain, can see it clearly in his face as his mask is slowly falling away. The cottage and Neal’s subconscious might hold nightmares to start with but soon they will turn around with the presence of Mina. Just as she can see his pain he can see hers, though hers might be more physical. They need each other to hold onto and build something new from their broken souls but his need to help his family pulls them apart. Can they find their way back to each other to help heal their pain, both physical and mental?

Cameos with Eagan and Brina give the story a rounder depth as it’s showing how others have come through the other side of their grief. Felia, Neal’s sister, needed to find her own way through it, which Neal is slowly figuring out. To move on you have to face the past and until they do that they will be stuck in a dark loop repeating their mistakes. Push past it and they will finally be happy again, just like David would have wanted.

To get a proper feel for the story and how certain characters may show their emotions, or lack their of by keeping them locked up, I would recommend reading the other books in the series. This can be read as a stand-alone but I feel you would benefit from reading the others. Plus they are good anyway, so why not.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Savannah Kade

Title: Wildest Dreams (Hollywood Nights Book 1)

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 ~~

Jenn Lesley isn’t finding the man of her dreams, so a friends-with-benefits situation suits her just fine in the meantime. She’s a smart woman—a lawyer—with her feet solidly on the ground. She’s pretty sure she knows what she needs, and Walker isn’t it.

Walker Booth knows that he and Jenn have simply hooked up, not fallen in love or anything like that. He’s committed to chasing his dream, and he’s carved out a great, if unconventional, life for himself. So why do his paintings all start to have Jenn’s face?

When fate throws them a curve, Jenn may be too busy trying to right the trouble of her past to see that Walker is full of surprises.

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:

A romance with a bit of a difference when you get to this one as it has two people who at first had no intention of making anything of what they had. A friends-with-benefits thing was all they wanted but that’s about to change when a certain test result comes back positive.

Jenn is clearly one of those people who loved to jump to conclusions right from get go with whomever she’s meeting. She had her mind set with how she thought things would go or how certain people should act and a good 9 times out of 10 she was wrong. Seems the dream guy and life she thought she wanted was nothing more than a fantasy. Reality turned out to be a whole lot better. A few times how she acts and thinks annoyed me but you have to go through those parts to get through to the real her. The one Walker is slowly helping her find.

Loved Walker from the start with his calmer carefree outlook on life. He is always trying to look out for Jenn even when she insists she doesn’t need him to. There’s more to him than meets the eye, which I liked. It just takes Jenn a while longer to see it but you know she will get there in the end. Seems she gets under his skin more than he would like to begin with and soon turns into a muse for his work. One he hopes to turn into reality though is yet to be seen. Loved his neighbours thought they were a good example of what real life looked like. A life Jenn soon starts to crave.

Thought her ‘friend’ Lissa was a right selfish bitch that definitely owed Jenn an apology for the ice queen she turned into. Melt the bitch I say. The friend she thought she had turned out to be one she’s better off without and the others she thought of as more acquaintances turned into the true friends she really needed.

Clark ‘dream guy’ was a tool of epic proportions and you really hope karma comes back to teach him a lesson. Lissa too really with how she acts. He was such a plank and how he acts after his major faux par is just laughable. Hello stalker in training, he’s getting close to it. Let’s just say when you are looking for ‘wife’ material it shouldn’t just be a job role to fill. Having your cake and eating will not just fly with our Jenn.

The dream man you think you are looking for can turn into a nightmare and that’s when the real thing sneaks up on you. The things Jenn might have put on her perfect partner list soon become obsolete. She gets what and whom she really wants when she starts looking with her heart not her lawyer business mind. Jenn may not have looked in Walkers direction for her future but it seems fate had other plans. She soon becomes the painting he longs her to be and he turns into the man of her wildest dreams.

Side note: A few times I spotted a name swap where Clark was used and it should have been Walker but nothing else that major.

4 out of 5 stars

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

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