Book Review: A Recipe For Love by Lucy Madison

Author: Lucy Madison
Release Date: 5th October 2018
Genre: Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 181
Publisher: Labrador Publishing, LLC
Blurb:
Piermont, New York. Danika Russo is 55, newly retired from a 30-year career as a mail carrier, and stuck in a rut. After putting her own needs on hold to care for her terminally ill partner and her unloving father, Danika is holed up the childhood home she inherited, a claustrophobic time warp from the 1970s complete with brown Formica and linoleum, and not sure what to do next.
Her best friend Natalie suggests making a list of things she has always wanted to do. Stepping outside her comfort zone, self-deprecating Danika opts for taking an Italian cooking class, not knowing that she will both impress the appreciative chef with her tasting skills and meet a mysterious younger woman there, Finn Gerard, who will capture her heart and teach her the recipe for love. But Finn is withholding a grim secret and, despite her initial passion, appears unable to commit to Danika fully. Will Danika allow herself to let go and fall in love for the first time in her life, even if there are no guarantees? Even if she must learn to let go?
This complex lesbian romance touches on themes of rediscovery and transformation, showing that while love can be the answer, real healing always starts from within.
Lucy Madison’s latest will appeal to fans of fine, well-crafted lesbian fiction and authors like Caren Werlinger. Readers will enjoy a bonus cookbook section at the back, featuring all the recipes mentioned in the book!

Review

★★★★

A Recipe For Love by Lucy Madison is a heart-warming and, in a non-traditionally way, an uplifting romance novel with well-developed characterization and a storyline to compliment it. I’m not a huge fan of LGBT fiction, mostly because it mainly focuses on the sexuality of people rather than the story or other conflicts in characters, but thankfully, this book was so much more than your regular lesbian fiction as it concentrated on the story and the character more than the label itself. And that was what I really liked about this book.

I enjoyed reading it and, for me, the best part was the beautiful growth of character of the protagonist, Danika. I feel that her conflicts, both inner and the main story conflict, were explored nicely and as a result, I had a great time reading the story. The writing was well and complimented the story well making this book a light, fun yet a memorable read.

I’d recommend it to all romance lovers. Though people who are not comfortable with lesbian relationships might not like it.

this review is also posted on Amazon
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Book Review: Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara

Author: Carey V. Azzara
Release Date: 3rd July 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 208
Publisher: Glass Spider Publishing
Blurb:
Nothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents–but the outcome is uncertain.

Review

★★★★

Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara is a beautiful story about relationships and family.

This book was surprisingly good and I savoured reading every minute of it. The overall story was a feast and the writing was pretty good and the characters strong and believable. The character’s inner conflicts seemed real and they complemented the carefully woven tale very well. The beginning was slow but built up steadily and the ending proved to be apt.

Except for a few minor pacing issues, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I’d recommend it to all contemporary fiction readers and to those readers who want to explore new authors and books.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: His Flawless Love by Pragna Rao

Author: Pragna Rao
Release Date: 1st January 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Relationships, Indian Literature
Edition:
 Paperback
Pages: 208
Publisher: Author’s Ink Publications
Blurb:
Marriage! Is it a tradition? A legal agreement? A biological need? Or something besides all these? Tragedy strikes Isha’s life when she loses her fiancé to destiny. But happiness comes back into her life in the form of a good man who becomes her husband. However, her struggles of her past memories and present situation go on, taking a toll on her new married life. Unable to carry on, she separates from her husband. And yet, the distance between them reminds her of her husband’s unconditional love. She understands the significance of the marital vows and returns to be the best companion for him. Though destiny unceasingly challenges her, it also makes her stronger. Who wins the battle ultimately? Destiny or love?

REVIEW

★★★

His Flawless Love by Pragna Rao is a book about love and marriage and everything that comes with it.

The story was good, well presented and very relatable to those who are married or have someone in their lives whom they truly love. The writing is simple, to the point and the inclusion of bits of poetry really made it an interesting read.

The fact that this book is not too long and easy to read made it a very quick read and I was glad that the author kept the prose tight and light instead of making it longer (in a sing-song way) the way a lot of Indian writers do.

I wasn’t overly impressed by the characterization, but I cared enough for the main characters to read the book and see how things turned out for them.

Overall, a nice and light contemporary romance read.

Goodreads and Amazon

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Book Review: Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

25592056-2Author: Jen Benjamin
Release Date: 25th March 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: E-book
Pages: 176
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.

Review

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin is a light and enjoyable Contemporary Romance read that’ll win your heart in a blink.

I get extremely choosy when it comes to Romance genre, therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. But fortunately, this book turned out to be a really pleasant and a light-hearted read. I liked the premise of the story as it was unique and was impressed by the execution and the balance of the emotions the author was able to maintain throughout the book. Romance is a very tricky genre because there needs to be a very strict balance otherwise, the story may either be lifeless or too cheesy and as far as I’ve seen only a few authors can do it correctly. And I’m glad to say that author Benjamin was able to pull off this balance quite well.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to the leading lady as I’m a writer myself (I’m pretty sure that if you want to be a writer or if you are one already, you’ll love this book simply because of its story and theme.) I liked the other secondary characters as well and found the writing pleasant and simple.

I’d recommend this book to all the Romance fans and also to those who’re looking for a light-hearted, breezy quick read to read this summer.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Southern Solstice

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Author: Sarah Sadler
Release Date: June 2, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 404
Publisher: Blue French Press
Source: NetGalley (Requested by Tammi Weed, Director of Media Relations, Modern PR.)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

As rich and distinctive as the Lowcountry itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage.

When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.

As her impetuous mother orchestrates a reunion with a first love, Larken becomes entangled in a dilemma where she must choose between an intriguing, passionate plastic surgeon—who is anything but superficial—and the annoyingly irresistible man who has silently loved her forever.

Rating4half-stars

Review

Plot Story:

The plot-line of this book is really impressive considering it’s a contemporary-romance story. I enjoyed reading this book and would felt myself pulled into the story from the beginning till the end.
I had a great time reading it and this book will make an excellent summer read. I’d recommend to anyone who loves the genre. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but this book really stood out. The simplicity of the plot is commendable and so is the rich writing and characterisation.

Characters:

I absolutely loved the characterisation in this book. I was able to feel a strong connection with the lead character- Larken Devereaux. I also loved the male leads – Jackson and Miles.

To be honest, I loved all the other characters as well and felt like I’d known them forever. Each and every character had substance and spoke for itself making the reader feel so comfortable reading the book that you’d want to loose yourself in it.

Romance:

It’s a romance fiction… so figures. The sizzling chemistry between Larken and Jackson is to die for. But when Miles comes into the picture, everything gets upside down and that’s when the the subtle bond between Larken and Miles starts to shine through. It’s amazing how the author not only successfully pulled off a love triangle but also ended it on a brilliant note.

To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the little moments of lovey-dovey stuff without actually cringing away from it. And that’s how, at least for me, a romance book should be.

Writing:

The writing is rich, as I already said, with a few new and heavy words sprinkled here and there. I enjoy this type of writing and I’m looking forward to read more books by the author. The book is written in third-person omniscient narration and the imagery created by the author is brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed narration. That said, yes, there were times, especially in the second half of the book, when I skimmed over a few lines here and there. But maybe that’s because I was so curious to find out how it all comes together in the end.

Beginning:

I thoroughly enjoyed the book from the beginning. The emotional turbulence at the very beginning of the book pulled me right in and instantly connected me with the female lead – Larken. After that as I read further the story got more and more interesting with each and every page. I love books with powerful beginnings as they draw me inside from the start and this book did just that.

Ending:

The book ended on a brilliant note and the ending itself was quite surprising. Generally, in romance novels the ending is pretty predictable but in this book but in this case it came as a pleasant surprise and it beautifully pulled out Larken from the web of a love triangle.

Cover Art:

I absolutely adore the cover art. I think it’s pretty classy and goes well with the theme of the book (esp. with Bunny’s quote – Jewels anyone crown.)

Blurb:

The blurb seems perfect to me. I accepted the book based on the blurb itself.

You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Don’t make this harder on me than it already is, Larken.”

Highlights: Brilliant plot.

Lowlights: A little too descriptive in the second-half.

Memorable Quotes:

Jewels On Your Crown.

And then she thought of Dr. Miles and the scar he had promised not to leave. Then she realised in a strange, hopeless way that he had left one anyway. Men always do.

If the shoe don’t fit, run barefoot the other way.

When you trouble yourself to be obligated to someone, they better have already proved their worth to you.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant summer read.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.


Book Review: Normal

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Author: Danielle Pearl
Release Date: August 11th, 2014
Series: Something More
Genre: New Adult | Romance | Contemporary
Edition: Mobi
Pages: 445
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s the kind of situation most people would dread. Starting at a new high school, in the middle of my senior year, in a new town, in a new state. I know no one. No one knows me. That’s what I’m counting on.

A year ago, Aurora “Rory” Pine was just a normal teenage girl – just as sweet and naive as the fairy tale princess she was named after.

But this isn’t a year ago.

Rory is broken, and now suffering from a debilitating anxiety disorder, wrought with precarious triggers, she moves across the country to escape the source of her troubles. Her plan is anonymity, but that’s easier said than achieved for the new girl having a panic episode outside of calculus. The worst part? There’s a witness – and a gorgeous one at that.

Sam is a walking trigger for Rory. Incredibly handsome, built like the star athlete he obviously is, and undoubtedly popular, Sam outwardly represents everything Rory despises about high school. But as the fates keep throwing them together, a connection sparks that neither ever expected, and certainly couldn’t ignore.

But Sam has issues too, and Rory’s past won’t just stay in the damned past. When friendship evolves into something deeper, can a girl utterly destroyed by the worst kind of betrayal and a boy battling demons of his own ever have a normal relationship? Is that even what they want? Find out in NORMAL, a gritty story of trust and abuse, heartbreak and salvation, and if they’re lucky – love. This is not a flowery romance – not for the faint of heart. For fans of Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Abbi Glines!

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

I don’t usually read books like Normal. It’s too close to reality for my taste. That being said, I was hooked from the start of this book. Rory is starting a new school and her first day there she has a panic attack in the middle of the hallway, just in time for Sam to walk out and find her. I knew there was going to be a love story in it and I was excited to see how the story progressed.

Then, I read where the story was going, what had happened to Rory and I was suddenly sick and ready to read the end to see if Rory found a happy ending like she should.

I have never been a victim of rape (thank God) and I don’t know the emotional turmoil that comes with that, but I felt like this story really gives you the truth. The panic attacks, the low self worth, and the idea that maybe it was all your fault.

This book covers one of the most controversial topics we have right now. Honestly, I feel that every girl should read this book once. I felt that it could be comfort to others who have been in similar situations, where they were made to feel they were raped because of what they wore or did. That they asked to be raped.

Yeah, the love story was adorable, but the real meat of this book was the damage that had been done to Rory and how she was dealing with life after.

The only problem I had with this story is that there is a very graphic sex scene that I felt was a little out of place. I feel that it lost its YA rating with that scene.

Characters:

I loved Rory and admired her for all of the wonderful things she pushed through after her traumatic experience. She is a strong female character. For Sam, who doesn’t love the boy who always comes to the rescue, the only boy who may understand what Rory needs at the moment. And then there is the sickening ex-boyfriend who I honestly wish had been killed somehow.

Romance/Kills:

There was only one death and I won’t say who. It’s tragic and heart breaking. There is romance of course, and it will make your heart flutter when things go right.

Writing:

I think the author did a fantastic job with this novel. Nothing stood out that annoyed me about the writing and everything seemed to be in place. Although, some chapters were a little lengthy and I was ready for the story to get to the point.

Beginning:

The beginning is what pulled me in. It makes you ask just enough questions to push you to continue reading. And it takes most of the book for all of the questions to be answered. 

Ending:

I am going to be honest here…as I am sure you are all hoping I am. The ending really ticked me off. I felt like there was so much left unsaid that could have been said in the first book. Also, it reminded me a lot of how Fifty Shades of Gray ended. I wasn’t happy, but I did hurry and purchase the second book so I could find out what happened next.

Cover Art:

The cover is simple and rather perfect for the story.

Blurb:

I feel like the blurb could have been a little better. It says something about Sam and his issues, but his issues take a back seat to Rory’s problems and it isn’t really a main focus in the story. Also, I think that the blurb should include the fact that this story is about rape, because no one should go in blind to a story like this.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It’s the kind of situation most people would dread.

Highlights: Rory is a strong female lead that girls can look up to.

Lowlights: The detailed sex scene.

Final Thoughts: This is a good book for girls to read, to learn their own self worth and to never let anyone tell them that they asked to be raped.


Review contributor:

pics-2Heather Mostella:

I’m a reader, writer, dreamer, and crafter. I like to create things and I love to see what others create. I avoid reality as much as possible, and often pretend I’m a vampire. I also own a group of black cats, so my neighbors think I’m a witch and I’m okay with that. I am a fan girl.

I love shows like Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Grimm. I love anime and dream of one day going to Japan. I just like to have fun, enjoy life, and do what makes me happy.

Read more about Heather here.


Book Review: Enchanted (Donovan Legacy #4)

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Author: Nora Roberts

Release Date: April 1, 2009

Series: Donovan Legacy

Genre: Paranormal| Romance | Fiction | Contemporary

Pages: 331ISBN NO.: 978-0-263-87514-0

Publisher: Penguin India

Preceded by: Charmed (Donovan Legacy #3)

Blurb

Rowan Murray needed the space to make an important choice, so she ran to a cabin on the wild coast of Oregon. But her new house was isolated, and Rowan was a woman alone. Hiking in the woods one day, Rowan’s solitude was threatened by an encounter with a stranger. Liam Donovan was mysterious, temperamental, frightening – and Rowan’s nearest neighbour. In a terrifying storm, with the power out in her tiny cabin, Rowan desperately needed help. When Liam arrived just in time, she had no choice but to accept his aid. Rowan would have to trust an enigmatic stranger with her whole future.

Review

4+1/2-Stars

The best thing about Nora Roberts’s books is that all the sweet and magical romance makes you forget all your tensions. Well atleast they do this for me! I liked this one a lot because it was different, firstly the lead male-witch, Liam, was a shape-shifter and second the female lead, Rowan, was also a witch, coming from a family of a long-forgotten but a real one!

Rowan as a character was brilliant and successfully flaunted the stuff women go through atleast once in a lifetime like confused, vulnerable, burdened and on the tricky edge to make a life-changing decision. On the other hand, Liam is a typical egoistic and arrogant male character with “I-take-all-the-f***ing-decisions” attitude. He behaves snobbishly and keeps throwing the excuse-ball of responsibility on everyone’s face.  I guess I’ve made it quite clear that I really didn’t like Liam but trust me it didn’t ruin my reading experience because at the end Rowan had the nerves to ask Liam to literally beg and confess his love. That douche-bag really deserved it! That little moment literally made up for everything!

I liked the angle of a Rowan’s grandmother’s forgotten legacy. After reading Captivated, Entranced and Charmed, loosely based on the same concept, except for all the different styles of love-making 😉 , this one was totally different.

The writing was simple and the plot was interesting. If you’ve read the other books from the series then you’ll be happy to know that in this book we get to meet Morgana’s, Ana’s and Sebastian’s families as well. It really felt good to read about all the cousins again, as over the first three reads, one really develops a relation with the leads.

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

 Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Dark as the night and fleet of foot, the wolf raced under a hunter’s moon. ”

Highlights: Different storyline.

Low-lights: Liam’s behaviour!

Quotes: “She sighed once, wishing she had a talent for the details of telling stories. She wasn’t bad at themes, she mused, but she could never figure out how to turn a theme into an engaging tale.”

Memorable paragraph:

““I was your lover Liam, but never your partner. I won’t settle for that, not even for you. You had my heart in your hands, and you didn’t know what to do with it. I can tell you, without the crystal ball, without the gift, you will never have another like it.””

Final Thoughts: A good book to conclude The Donovan Legacy.