Review – Bridges

Wishing a very happy release day to author Maria Murnane for her latest novel called Bridges, the second in the Daphne White series. Check out yesterday’s blog post if you missed my review of the first book in the series called Wait for the Rain and then scroll on to read about her new book called Bridges. Cheers to having a new novel available to enjoy!

Bridges by Maria Murnane

My Review:

Bridges is the second story in the Daphne White series. This time we find Daphne on a trip to visit Skylar in New York and The Three Musketeers are together again. The three best friends have another fun adventure together, and there’s tons of love and laughter to be had along the way.

There’s more to these ladies than what appears on the surface, and they each have major changes and sources of anxiety to overcome at this point in their lives. Daphne battles the fear of not being good enough, not being the person she wanted to be or thought she would be when she began as a driven young woman. Skylar and KC both have major changes happening in their lives, situations that they never thought they would find themselves in, but ultimately they have the potential to be good changes.

Age is just a number and these gals in their early forties are prime examples to drive home that sentiment. Bridges was a wonderful second book in the series and I can’t wait to see where life takes these gals next.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

About the Book

Title: Bridges

Author: Maria Murnane

Published: April 4, 2017

Book Blurb: It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

About the Author – Maria Murnane

Author Bio:

Maria’s road to becoming an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years and a LOT of perseverance, and she’s now the best-selling author of Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. Her next book, Wait for the Rain, will be released in Feb 2015. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.mariamurnane.com

If you like her books, please tweet @mariamurnane.com!

 Arielle Joy

Social Media Short-Link:

http://wp.me/p4F2Uk-mpf

Review – Kiss Me in the Snow

Kiss Me in the Snow by Rich Amooi

kiss-me-in-the-snowPublished: December 2016

Book Blurb: A fun, enchanting holiday romantic comedy!

Hollywood superstar Sophia Harris is trading stage lights for Christmas lights and spending a quiet, man-less holiday in snowy Lake Tahoe with her sister. At least that was the plan. But when a hunky ski instructor steals the show, Sophia finds herself up on skis, but falling hard.

Ethan Woods enjoys his laid-back lifestyle and relishes his time on the slopes. Things heat up with the arrival of Sophia, the stubborn vacationer who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The vulnerability she so desperately tries to hide draws Ethan in like a magnet.

But all vacations must come to an end and soon Sophia will have to choose. Will she go back to her life of glitz and glamour? Or will she follow her heart to a happy ending with the leading man of her dreams?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

This book literally had me laughing from the opening sentence!

Sophia is one of hollywood’s highest paid actors, but none of her work has gotten her close enough to her dream of getting an oscar nomination. Her sister Chelsea’s divorce was just finalized and the sisters decide to take a vacation during the holidays to get out of town. They head to Lake Tahoe where they’re in for a fun-filled adventure.

I loved the story of Sophia and Chelsea and the adventures they have in Lake Tahoe. Amooi crafts lovely charming characters wrapped up in a non-stop hilarious story that will have you laughing the whole way through!

5/5 Stars for another hilarious romantic comedy by Rich Amooi

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Connect with the Author – Rich Amooi

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Rich AmooiQuirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective.

Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.

He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

JOIN RICH’S MAILING LIST
Get updates on new releases, $0.99 deals, and exclusive content. Sign up for his newsletter here!

Arielle Joy

Social Media Short-Link: http://wp.me/p4F2Uk-mhL

Review – Christmas at Lilac Cottage

Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac CottagePublished: September 25, 2015 by Bookouture

Book Blurb: Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down.

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My Review

Christmas at Lilac Cottage is the first novel in the White Cliff Bay series by Holly Martin. We begin the story with a lonely 29 year-old woman named Penny that wishes she had a husband and children to keep her company, and as a result, she’s quite sad and lonely.

Penny wasn’t always this lonely, she was in love once but had her heart broken when she was younger. Penny feels that she’s the only one without someone to love and take care of. So she throws herself into her work to distract her from her lonely life. Although she enjoys the solitude and creativity of making something beautiful with her hands, she still finds herself lonely at the end of the day. In an attempt to keep her loneliness at bay, she rents out the annexe of her home to a complete stranger, hoping that she will be able to make a new friend and find the companionship that she craves.

The new tenants that she rents the annexe to begin to take on a large role in her life. While Penny’s love life has been more frozen than the ice sculptures she creates, Henry’s heart has frozen for anyone other than his teenaged daughter Daisy. He’s had relations with women, but nothing that amounted to anything, as he didn’t want anyone to come between him and his daughter. There’s a bit of drama, chaos and sexual-chemistry in the mix and it makes for an entertaining story.

I loved this charming, heart-warming novel about love. Sometimes we find exactly what was missing in our lives with exactly the right person however, realizing this and making it a reality are two very different things.

5 stars for this Christmas novel carved to perfection 🙂

I received a free copy of the novel from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Currently $2.99 on Amazon

About the Author – Holly Martin

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Website

Holly MartinAuthor Bio: Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Check out my reviews on one of Holly’s other novels:

Fairytale Beginnings

Review – Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe KissesPublished: October 16, 2015 by Bookouture

Book Blurb: An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My Review

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses is a beautiful, charming christmas love story. It captured my attention from the get-go and held it throughout the entire novel. One of the main themes of the novel was the idea that love knows no bounds, and it does not judge based on wealth and material possessions. Rather, love is about the connection two beings have with one another.

Nick comes into Abbey’s life when Caroline -the women she provides private home care for – recommends that Nick hire Abbey as an interior decorator to help Nick make his house into a home. Abbey is a hard-worker that does her best to provide for her young son Max and give him a better life than she had, but it’s difficult on her salary. Abbey is intrigued by Nick from the moment she met him. He’s a bit cold, with a fake smile, and she’s curious to know what a real one would look like on him, or how he would look laughing. Once Nick hires her, suddenly Abbey finds herself with a much healthier salary, along with new wishes and desires to have a romantic relationship and a proper father figure for her son.

One of the other main themes of the novel is that you should always follow your dreams. Sometimes your dreams may seem scary and unattainable, or not profitable enough to live a lifestyle you’re used to, but ultimately your happiness comes from your triumphs and it’s worth the risk. Nick was so used to taking calculated risks to get business acquisitions, but he wasn’t used to making any risks in his personal life when he couldn’t foresee the outcome. Abbey has the ability to pull him away from work and to do the things he loves to do, like play the piano and spend time with family. I enjoyed watching Abbey pull Nick out of his obsession with working too hard and truly beginning to allow himself to enjoy his life. What good is all of that wealth if you don’t get to enjoy any of it? Life is about balance and making memories that will last a lifetime by scaling back on work to spend time with loved ones can be more rewarding than some realize.

I adored this novel. 5 stars!

About the Author – Jenny Hale

Author Links: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

7201437Author Bio: When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result is Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

When I’m not writing, I’m a District Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, a mother of two boys, and a wife to a very supportive husband.

Check out my review on 2 other novels by Jenny:

A Christmas to Remember     summer by the Sea_3.indd

 

Book Review | Fragile Lies

Fragile Lies by Laura Elliot

Publication Date: February 13, 2015

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Book Blurb

His name is Michael Carmody.
He is a writer and a father.
His son is lying in a coma, fighting for his life.

Her name is Lorraine Cheevers.
She is an artist and mother.
An illicit affair has destroyed her marriage.

Michael is desperate to find the couple who left his son for dead, a victim of a hit and run.

Lorraine is desperate to start a new life for her and her daughter.

Michael and Lorraine are about to cross paths – damaged souls, drawn to one another.

They don’t know that their lives are already connected.

They don’t know the web of lies surrounding them.

They are each searching for the truth. But when they find it, it could destroy them both.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon Global | Goodreads

My Review

Fragile Lies is a novel about the damage that illicit passion can create. There is a great quote in the Prologue about stolen hours and the idea that thievery has many faces. I thought that was an interesting concept and from there I was intrigued and wanted to read more. I wanted to find out who this man and women were and how they could do something that they knew was terribly wrong, knowing that they were hurting innocent people, running away from their mistakes.

The world of illicit passion and deceit is foreign to me. It’s amazing the amount of lies one must tell when they are cheating on a spouse or significant other. There are countless men and women that lie and cheat. Why do that to someone they [at one point in time] cared about? Not that it’s ever okay to cheat, but in my mind it’s different to make a mistake and cheat one time than it is to continue on with an affair. To constantly be going behind their back, cheating on them and filling them with empty lies. It’s sad that these characters in particular have something tragic happen that wasn’t really their fault, but because they were together, they panicked and fled rather than deal with the situation the way they should have.

The novel is broken up into four parts but other than the prologue, goes in chronological order. I’m not entirely sure why it was broken into parts, perhaps to signify the different stages of Lorraine’s life. Throughout her life she has experienced absolute love and has witnessed terrible tragedies. Some of the events in the novel made me wonder if it’s possible to be in love with two people. I can imagine that you can love two people, but I think you can only truly be in love with one of them. The person that is always in your thoughts, the first person you think about in the morning, the last person you think about before you fall asleep, is it really possible to be in love with two? I don’t think so.

There was another quote that I absolutely loved and have to share. ‘Love only has substance when it’s freely given.’ Fragile Lies is an interesting tale of love, deceit, tragedy and forgiveness. All things take time to move on from but can they ever be fully forgiven? Will people ever learn from their mistakes? The terrible knowledge of someone’s mistakes must beat down on them every day until it ultimately destroys them or strengthens them. Can one ever really move past something so terrible? This novel is about overcoming obstacles and emotions. There are some fun and humorous details but it’s mostly a touching story about the human capacity to love, lie and forgive.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Receiving novels free of charge in no way reflects on my honest opinion and no monetary compensation was provided for my review. Writing a review is the best way to say thank you to an author. I encourage you to write reviews and share them on sites like Goodreads and Amazon so that your fellow readers can see what you think!

Connect with Laura Elliot

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Author Bio:

10629339_843441735696715_8495556905103847749_oLaura Elliot is the author of three novels, Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister (published by Avon HarperCollins) and Fragile Lies (published by Bookouture). Her books have been translated into many languages.

Aka June Considine, she is also a writer of children’s fiction and has written twelve books for pre-teens and young adults. Her short stories have been broadcast and have appeared in a number of teenage anthologies, including The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Annual Collection. She gives regular workshops on creative writing and is secretary to the board of the Irish Writers’ Centre. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and magazine editor but is now engaged full time in creative writing. She lives in Malahide, Co Dublin.

Book Review | Pear Shaped

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Pear Shaped

by Stella Newman

Release Date: September 26, 2014

Kindle Edition: 344 pages

Kindle Price: $2.99

What'sTheStory-Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.

An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

MyReview

Pear Shaped begins as an entertaining read with a main character that is fun, confident and completely relatable. Sophie Klein is a Jewish gal in her early thirties living in London and working a dream job as a pudding developer. However, the minute she meets a man named James her life takes a downward spiral, though it takes a while for her to finally realize two things; one, he’s a total idiot that will never commit to one woman and two, she needs to ditch the loser and move on with her life. Honestly, I found it quite irritating that the book description basically gives away the entire story and tells you that he is too good to be true. “Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl loses mind… Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.”

“Food equals love, too much food equals Jewish love.” I loved this quote; Jewish culture and holidays are all about the food, and the people! I could relate to her mother’s advice in her head telling her that James is going to be exactly what he says he’s not; meaning he will be a liar and a cheat. It irritates me that she spends an inordinate amount of time in an ambiguous relationship with him, even though her instinct is telling her that he’s not worth her time. From reading the book description you know that he’s going to turn out to be an asshole, it’s just a matter of when she figures it out and how she proceeds with the realization. I was disappointed that it took her so long to finally walk away from the toxic relationship, though it was realistic, as many women stay in relationships much past their expiration dates with losers that weren’t worth their time to begin with.

I identified and related with Sophie towards the beginning of the novel; she’s a confident and intelligent individual with a major sweet tooth. She books up her ‘diary’ in advance and is uncomfortable with uncertainty in plans. Like me, she doesn’t like making a generalized plan that doesn’t get confirmed until a few hours prior to the event happening. This character trait of Sophie’s is part of the reason I was surprised that she continued to be involved with James for so long. After a certain point in time, you have to realize that your relationship isn’t important to him and move on with your life.

I despised James’ character and I did not enjoy watching Sophie waste her time with such a douchebag. I’m sorry, but if a guy you’re dating tells you that he thinks you’re fat and isn’t sure if he’s attracted to you for a long-term relationship, you run! To make matters worse, he complains that she’s too heavy, all while sitting around with a big huge beer gut; hypocrisy at it’s worst. You don’t sit around and waste more time thinking that maybe he’s right or that you should be doing something differently, when you were perfectly happy with yourself before he came along.

Although I found the book to be a bit slow and irritating to read, there were many aspects of the storyline that were entertaining and relatable and somewhat redeemed itself with it’s humor and important life lessons. It wasn’t my favorite novel, but it did have it’s moments of laugh-out-loud humor with a possible happily ever after.

MyRating3.5_StarReviewThank you to NetGalley for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

AboutTheAuthorTwitter | Facebook | Website | Amazon

Writer, eater & author of ‘Pear Shaped’ and ‘Leftovers’