Book Reviews

Book Review – The Cottage By Lavinia Urban

 

Lydia is left reeling as she discovers that for the past eight years there has been a block on her memories.
Not only is she a shapeshifting witch but she is also a Gatekeeper to the Dark Realms.
Giving up the only life she knows Lydia travels back to her home town of Mystic Valley where things become heated when she meets her soulmate in her dreams.
Follow Lydia as she discovers who she really is as she tries to unlock all of her memories.

As those of you who have been around for a while know, Lavinia was a dear friend who passed away last year, that being said I always review book straight down the line and this one will be no different.

This book is a quick read, it is aimed at YA and I read it in a day, but that is not to say that it does not have substance. Although this was intended to be the start of a series it can be read alone, it is a paranormal coming of age story and while I will not deny that some readers may find it frustrating that we never learn everything there is to know, I do think it is a good enough start to make it worth reading nevertheless.

There are a few typos but nothing that can distract you from the story and as Lavinia is not around to fix them I feel it unfair to hold those against her. Part of me wished she had written this as an adult series but that was not her preferred genre and I have to judge this book for what it is and know if I have come across this age 12-13 I would have absolutely raved about it.

So I am giving my score based upon how it would relate to it’s intended audience, I have no qualms about giving this a 5 out of five stars, and remember that sales of this book help Lavinia’s family continue without her and show she is not forgotten.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Fact Vs Fiction

Thoughts On Thursday: If you could bring back one musician from the dead, who would it be and why?

Thoughts on Thursday is undergoing a slight change, previously I have used it to talk about world issues or something that has annoyed me, something on my mind. This year it will be a chance for you to know me better, each day over on FB, Twitter and Instagram I will be doing my question of the day but each week here I will answer a question in more depth.

There are a few people that came to mind when I considered this but in the end, there could only be one person I would pick, David Bowie!

Like a million other girls I fell in love with the goblin king, it was not the first time that I had heard of David Bowie but it was Jareth who captured my heart, years later on the sad day of his passing I woke to a text from my daughter, it stated simply ‘The Goblin King is dead!’ And I admit I cried a little.

What Bowie was so good at, as well as the lyrics was, was allowing the imagination full reign, there were no limits, no boundaries. He immersed himself in his creations but he also allowed others to believe that anything was possible for them. I, like many others I know, am still waiting for the dream masquerade ball, somewhere on the other side of the mirror where our younger self still dwells, where we will let him keep our younger siblings to carry on the dance.

There are so many different songs that I could choose, so many that have a special place in my heart or bring back memories of my childhood, Let’s Dance, Dancing in Street, Heroes, just too many classics to pick from all of which attest to his creative genius.

Absolute Beginners was one of the films of my teens, slated by many I have to say the words of the title track always resonated with me, as I write this post I realise that it is impossible to think of the 80’s when I was a teenager without Bowie occupying some part of it.

The thing is that Bowie was not just and 80’s artist he shaped every decade he lived and performed through, even when at times he was out of the public eye, his influence continued with those inspired by him and those who he collaborated with. I do not even claim to have come close to seeing every performance from his career, this next video was new to me even now as I searched for the others.

The final video is a tribute to his work ethic, that despite battling cancer, knowing that his days were numbered, he still finished yet another masterpiece. It is hard to watch this video, knowing the truth about how ill he was but it is also a tribute that the man could face his battles and turn them into something that transcends life and death.

We can only imagine, given another two or three decades, just how many more seminal pieces Bowie could have created, but with modern technology we have the power to resurrect Bowie over and over again each time we listen to his songs, watch his videos or share them with generations to come.

Answers in the comments for which musician you would bring back even if only for just one more song.

Fact Vs Fiction

Day For Resolutions

Every year I make a dozen or so resolutions, if I am lucky I might keep one of two for most of the year.

Last year was a disaster in some ways, but a success in others, I met someone care about very much, I did a few signings including visiting new places, and of course I met new friends. But my writing stagnated, half finished projects abound on my computer and for the second half of the year I struggled mentally and physically.

This year I am still making resolutions but they are taking a different form.

This year I am starting afresh, beginning a new decade with the into making changes not just for a year but to gain the life I want.

This will be the year where I step up both my writing and marketing, I am setting up Raven’s Rest Press, this will give me an option for creating special edition books and hardback of certain books.

I will be completing the Queen of Ages Trilogy and hopefully there will be more news regarding the tie in game that a friend has conceived and I am working on.

There will be more anthology contributions alongside the books, and I will get better organised to stay on top of the blog, and the websites.

This is the year I want to get my Patreon set up.and running properly, I want to reach a point where my writing at least pays for itself and preferably pays the bills also.

I am signed up to UK signings  through 2020, 2021, and 2022, my dream is to work towards US signings in 2023, and to tie those in with visiting friends over there.

The usual one of losing weight of course is added into the mix this year I have a specific target and incentive.

Ruby came into.my life about seven weeks ago, at a time where I was mentally exhausted, I was struggling to keep the brave face on and tired and in pain. Exercising the demented spaniel is easy you walk to the field andd he runs round like a lunatic, but the horse requires you to give your time and to do exercise without it feeling like a workout.

She is my therapy,  she calms me, I am learning new skills, learning about subjects that I never considered before, and these do actually feed into my writing. Previously I wrote describing a journey of several days riding without considering so many factors, now I gaining a better knowledge of the realities of the equine world. I also learnt to make the map first.

The fact is that before I can even think about riding her I need to lose weight. Of course there is no guarantee I will be able to even then but I will be able to make that decision knowing I tried my best.

This year I am taking control of my destiny and focussing on what I want from my life.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Pride (Lavinia Urban’s Seven Deadly Sins Series Book 2) by Lavinia Urban & Stacy McWilliams

There were three things Hunter Sinclair cared about: his club, his Harley and his family.

Being the poster boy for the Atlanta Angels didn’t last long and soon Hunter was forced to flee to Florida with a shattered family and broken dreams.

On the outside Savannah Simmons has it all: good grades, the perfect family and amazing friends, but appearances can be deceptive. Beneath the surface, things are far from perfect.

She was everything he craved but he knew she could never be his for fear that his past would destroy her.

Could Hunter swallow his pride and admit how much he wanted her or would the repercussions from his past tear them apart?

This is the second of the books in the series completed in honour of Lavinia Urban, you can find the review for the first book, Lust, here. Again I approached this with mixed feelings, luckily I still do not have to worry about what will happen if I do not enjoy one of these books.

I had not read anything by Stacy previous to this, so I was not sure what to expect but I did feel that this was a book I could have imagined Lavinia writing. It certainly has more of a YA/New Adult feel than the first book, and is, in many ways a coming of age story, a trope frequently exhibited in Lavinia’s other series. The whole teenage forbidden love, and moving on despite feelings remaining, resonated with me and I can imagine this could be the start of something more.

The characters are well written and believable, likewise the situations that are covered in the book including the way that the parents ‘good boy’ is really the predator while the ‘bad influence’ is the hero.

I am so happy to be able to give this five out of 5 stars without any hesitation and recommend that if you have not already read these books them find them on KU, not only are you helping a family mourning the loss of their wonder woman but you will also get to read some new authors.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Book Review – Wicked Wish (Wicked Horse Vegas #2) By Sawyer Bennett

I am the most sought after man in The Wicked Horse. Sex is nothing but a game to me and I’m the type that will leave at the end of the night without looking back. Tonight, there is no way I can walk away from the mysterious green-eyed beauty behind the mask of sapphire feathers at the club’s masquerade event.

Clearly looking to walk on the wild side, she’s the escape I’m looking for. Unfortunately, I realize too late that I know exactly who she is. And now I’m left to reconcile the fact that I just experienced the greatest pleasure of my life with Jorinda Pearce.

My best friend’s little sister.
And there is not another woman in the world who is more off limits.

I confess I was a little annoyed when I realised that this book was not the first in the series, however, I don’t think I really missed out on anything important by not having read the first one. The book’s plot plays on the fine lines of friendship, siblings, and bonds between people not based on shared blood.

At first, I was a little unsure about the plot, I don’t really read a lot of erotica, and the pacing where the main character goes from being ‘vanilla’ and questioning her sexual failings to being fully immersed into the idea of sexual exhibitionism seemed a little too quick for me and a little too easy. The fact I found the characters interesting made it easier to keep reading and I did enjoy the book but I would just like to have seen more of an internal struggle from the main character regarding her choices.

The book is well written and I get that the length fits the genre but I was left feeling like I would have liked a little bit more, however,  accept that is probably more my failing than the book, and it is only fair I scale the book based on its genre rather than how much more could have been added.

I did enjoy this book and did read it in a day so I am going to give it 4 out of five stars, for me the only thing I can’t get past is that there would not have been any internal turmoil with Jorinda after the first visit to the club.

Book Reviews

Book Review – What Happens in New York: Two friends. One life-changing vacation. by Kristina Adams

Hollie can’t catch a break. She’s broke, she’s back living with her family, and her career prospects are zero. So when the chance arises for her and her best friend to escape to New York, well, she can hardly say no, can she?

Little does she realise the charming stunt performer she just met is about to introduce her to Hollywood royalty. But are the Hollywood elite really who they claim to be, or is there more to their stories than they let on?

Find out what happens next in the sassy, seductive debut perfect for fans of Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella, and Marian Keyes.

I loved this book, I read it more or less in a day. As the blurb says it is very similar in style to reading Sophia Kinsella, the characters are in the main likeable but each has their baggage and just like real-life friends occasionally you wish you could reach in and give them a good shake. Their frailties are relatable, and when they are thrust into the spotlight you can imagine that the way they are portrayed is pretty much true to their characters. The elite are also a mix of complex personalities, the drug use and excesses of celebrity lifestyles are touched on but do not take over the plot allowing for a nice balance of normality, drama and extravagance that creates an enjoyable, fun read that leaves you wanting more.

I really recommend this as either a summer beach read or for a cosy winter evening book to curl up with just be warned they are not on KU and you will want to read the next one straight away. I give this book 5 out of five shiny gold stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Book Review: Lust: Lavinia Urban’s Seven Deadly Sins Series by Lavinia Urban (Goodreads Author), Rene Folsom

Throughout December I am going to try to post a review each day to catch up on some of the books I have read this year!

Plentiful. Enjoyable. Disposable.

Women were like toys to me, and I wasn’t at all ashamed to say so. I worked hard and deserved to enjoy my possessions. Those who discredited me for my attitude didn’t know a thing about life or how to live it.

Money. Motorcycles. Women.

They were all possessions in my eyes, and I had no shame in taking what I wanted when I wanted it. Even though I wasn’t stupid, I usually spat caution in the wind when it came to sweeties. It wasn’t like anything would ever go beyond the first night.

Of course, leave it to Alexina to derail everything I thought I knew.

***

ATTENTION: Lavinia Urban had a vision to write this series, yet her life was taken from her all too soon after a heart-wrenching battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Aside from her family’s welfare, her last wish was for her friends to continue these stories about The Seven Deadly Sins. With her husband’s well wishes, seven authors banded together to bring Lavinia Urban’s Seven Deadly Sins Series to her fans and readers everywhere. All proceeds will go to Lavinia’s loving husband and adorable children. May she rest in peace with the knowledge we will never forget her.

I put my hands up before I start, reading these books was one of the hardest things I have ever done, Lavinia was a friend and an author I respected, I had to suppress any emotions I may have had regarding the fact she did not get to write these stories herself.

Rene Folsom was a new author to me but I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to reading more from her. The characters are well written, and it is easy to identify with two people not looking for love but meeting a person who should be all wrong for them but ends up being so right. These books are more along the lines of short stories/novellas, so I consider it natural for the story to be a little faster paced than you might wish for but that is in part down to the amazing effort made by these amazing authors to honour Lavinia’s wishes and finish this series for her.

Most of the authors seem to have used characters from their own series, spun off into this collection, so not only does that make these stories worth reading in their own right, but also as an introduction to a whole new series of books if you enjoy the writer’s style.

I would have been absolutely devasted if I had not been about to give this full marks but I have no qualms hitting 5 out of five stars for this first book in the series.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Runaway And The Russian By Helen Bright

 

 

When her best friend goes missing after being targeted by child groomers, Tess Robertson feels she has no choice but to run away.

Fearing for her life, Tess leaves the children’s home where she’s resided for the past eighteen months, and boards a train bound for the capital.

While wandering the streets of London, Tess realises she’s being followed, causing her to run once again, straight into the path of a bullet meant for arms dealer, Kolya Barinov.

While Tess recovers, Kolya vows to keep her safe: to give her a good life in return for saving his.

But is this simply swapping one danger for another? Or could the path to true happiness begin with blood and bullets?

I actually thought I had already reviewed this book but apparently not so let me remedy that situation.

I love this book, first, let me set aside I know the author and hugely respect her, for both her writing and as a person, so I would never insult her by being less than honest. The characters are interesting and each individual in terms of personality and back story. The initial chapters dealing with Tess being targetted by child groomers sadly resonate all too well given I live in an area that has just seen over twenty men and two women prosecuted in very similar circumstances to that in this plot.  I would also suggest anyone wanting to learn more about the inspiration for the start of this series watch the BBC series Three Girls which is available on i-Player and Netflix.

As the story progresses you watch as Tess learns to trust and rebuild a new life despite the constant fear that her past will catch up with her.

This is the first part of a trilogy and I am not going to lie you will want the second part ready for when you finish this.

I have reread this book twice waiting for the next part, I give this a resounding 5 out of five stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

If you want to find out more about the author you can find her on

Facebook 

Goodreads

Or her website

 

Fact Vs Fiction

Table For One Read from Disintegration & Other Stories

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8vg2u-c15867

This week I read a short story from my first collection released Disintergration& Other Stories available on Amazon and to read for free in Kindle Unlimited for the month of October.