Book Review – ‘Play With You (Loneliness #1)’ by Alison Cole.

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Play With You by Alison Cole
(Loneliness #1)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary

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SYNOPSIS

Johanna Williams is a keyboardist for an up-and-coming band from London, The Lonely Lovers. When their bassist, Gemma, is kicked out, Johanna and the rest of the band must find a suitable replacement. They decide on Laslow Hadley, a young prodigy also hailing from London. But what catches Johanna’s eye isn’t Laslow – it’s his older brother, Marcus.
Although relationships with people affiliated with the band are strictly forbidden, Johanna can’t help but pursue her growing feelings for Marcus. Soon, her heart and her virginity are taken away by her new love interest.
While the band continues to grow exponentially in popularity, Marcus and Johanna continue their affair in the shadows of fame. However, when the spotlight grows too big for their secret, they must face the consequences of breaking the band’s most important rule.
When separated for a lengthy U.S. tour, will Johanna be able to cope with her new found loneliness? Will the surprise of her life end her life-long dream of becoming a successful musician? Will her relationship with Marcus ever be rekindled, or is their candle of love doomed to be extinguished forever?
In the game of loneliness, the odds are not in Johanna’s favor. It’s up to her and Marcus to beat it.

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Book Review – ‘Play With You (Loneliness #1)’ by Alison Cole.

I really hate giving less than 4 stars on a book, because I believe that every book, no matter the genre or the previous reviews, has the potential to be given 5 stars. However, there was just no many problems that I had with this book that I couldn’t justify giving it more than 3 stars. It was only because the storyline had promise that I gave this book as high a rating as I did.

I think this book is a prime example of how every author should have at least five proof-readers before they even entertain the idea of publishing their work. It’s a shame because this storyline had so much promise and I was really expecting great things from it, but the writing style made me groan with frustration.

I felt that the entire story seemed to comprise of; “The next morning I did this,” and then “I went to practice, and when that was finished I went home.” and then “The next morning I did this.” I felt there was a lot of “showing” and not enough “telling”, for want of a better description. For example, most of the lines of dialogue were all written in long paragraphs, with no action shown as to how the character was actually saying it. I feel that if the dialogue had been cut up into smaller sections with more adjectives inserted to describe how the speaker was feeling emotionally, and how they acted physically, (e.g. waving a hand in annoyance, or pushing their hand through their hair) then it would not have been so hard-going to read.

I felt it was a shame seeing as I was really invested in the storyline but felt that certain events weren’t getting any attention. It was interesting that Marcus came with his brother every day for the band rehearsals, but I didn’t feel like there was any explanation for him being there. Why did he go with him every day? Left to my own conclusions I originally assumed that Marcus was there to drop him off and pick him up, but then why would he stay? I then assumed that he was his brothers legal guardian only to later discover that Laslow was married. There was a lot of occassions that I felt backstory was lacking, and this left me really frustrated that the reader was given an interesting piece of information and then nothing followed on from it, and it was just ignored.

There were also a number of little errors that had been missed. Tim phones Johanna to tell her that practice is cancelled because Linny is ill, only for the next paragraph to state that it was Laslow that was ill, which immediately broke my connection to the story as I had to go back and re-read the previous chapter to make sure I hadn’t misread it.

I think it is a real shame that the book was riddled with errors as I really did love the storyline. In my opinion it would be best for the author to take their book down, get a few more proof-readers and go through the original edition with a fine-tooth comb. The story had real promise and I’m sure the author could improve this book so much to give the story the writing it deserves.

2 Stars.


Book Review – ‘Breath of Air (Dryad Quartet #1)’ by Katie Jennings.

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Breath of Air by Katie Jennings
(The Dryad Quartet #1)
Genres: Romance, Fantasy

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SYNOPSIS

Her name was Capri, and she was Air.

She was born with a gift she didn’t understand. A gift so strange, so remarkable that she had kept it secret for as long as she could remember, despising that it made her different when all she wanted was to be normal, to belong. As an orphan, belonging to someone, anyone, would have been an incredible blessing, one she would have given up all that she had just to get a taste of.

But the truth was that she didn’t belong in the orphanage in Virginia, or even in the United States. In fact, she didn’t belong with human beings at all. Because she wasn’t one of them, not really. She was something much more extraordinary.

She could shift the direction of the wind, create billowing clouds out of nothing, and charm birds into dancing on her open palm. She belonged to an elite group of beings, responsible for preserving the balance of nature and the safety of Earth from an underworld that deserved to be feared, and needed to be controlled.

And after years of being lost, she had at last been found, and now the truth of how she had ended up so far from home was becoming horribly clear to her.

But there’s someone who doesn’t want her to return; someone who knows Capri was the only witness to an act of heinous treason and violent murder. And when she begins to search her memories for details of the night she was taken from her home, details that will implicate a killer, she finds herself the unwary target of an otherworldly dark force intent on silencing her by any means possible.

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Book Review – ‘Breath of Air (Dryad Quartet #1)’ by Katie Jennings ~ 5 Stars!

I couldn’t wait to read ‘Breath of Air’ after reading all the amazing reviews for it, so after throwing down my dissertation in annoyance I allowed myself to pick up my Kindle, hoping to lose myself in a different world for an hour before getting back to work.

Needless to say, I was hooked and that hour soon turned into four hours, and I was so engrossed with the beautiful storytelling that I didn’t even realise what the time was until my Mum came into my room to tell me she was going to bed.

Whoops. Not much of my dissertation got done that night.

Reading Capri’s story was such a wonderful journey for me. I can’t express how much I loved this book, the characters and the brilliant storyline. The imagery that Katie Jennings used to describe Euphora was purely magical, and I felt almost as though I was there, sleeping in one of the comfy beds, in a beautiful castle that was light, open and peaceful.

I also loved how Capri really grew into a strong and more confident woman throughout the story, after being very shy and timid when she first returns home to Euphora. I also loved her relationship with Blythe and Liam, and how she desperately wanted to help fix the relationship between Blythe and Rhiannon. Her relationship with her father was also beautifully written, and the scenes between these two were so beautifully written that you could feel the emotion coming off the page with Clynn’s relief that his daughter had been returned to him safely and Capri finally feeling that she belongs.

The mystery storyline was brilliant and the writing was so clever that I was second guessing all the different characters that we had seen, feeling as though no one could be trusted blindly, just like Capri was starting to feel. I loved how the reactions to Capri’s return from the different groups within Euphora had us suspicious about certain individuals from the start, but who ended up being perfectly innocent.

But most of all, my favourite part of this book was Capri and her relationship with Rian. I was only about 20% into the book, and we had only seen briefly seen Rian twice, when I found myself longing to know more about him and rooting for him. I spent a few of the early chapters in the book worrying that Capri was going to be with Liam and I was getting a little too overinvested in Rian’s character, so I was so happy when I saw Capri’s relationship with Rian develop, slowly but beautifully. The story of Capri giving Rian a flower when she was a baby, and her upset when he refused it, had me ‘awwwing’ in my mind. For me, it seemed that Capri would be the perfect person for Rian, her openness and loving nature a perfect match for Rian’s fiercely loyal but independent manner. Their story was so beautiful, that I had tears in my eyes seeing how Rian began to open up to her and how Capri began to feel as though she’d finally found the family and love that she had been searching for in all her years on earth.

A brilliant start to the Dryad Quartet. It’s difficult to believe that this was Katie Jennings debut novel, as it is such a wonderful piece of art! An absolute pleasure to read. 5 Stars and a definite recommended read. Go buy it NOW!


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Katie Jennings

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Book Review ~ ‘The Forgotten Ones’ by Laura Howard.

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The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
(The Danaan Trilogy #1)
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: May 15th 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.

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Book Review – ‘The Forgotten Ones’ by Laura Howard ~ 5 Stars!

The Forgotten Ones will be released on Kindle on May 15th. This Review contains Spoilers.

I honestly don’t know whether I’ll be able to find the right words to express just how much I loved ‘The Forgotten Ones’, but I’ll give it a shot. But just in case my ramblings for adoration for this book aren’t coherent I’ll make it clear now: BEST BOOK EVER!

From having the story told from Allison’s point of view, I felt it strengthened the connection the readers have with her. Reading from Allison’s perspective of her mother’s illness and her confusion for her feelings for Ethan made me admire her devotion to her mother who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and we can accept why she doesn’t want to let Ethan into her life.

The opening paragraph drew me in straight away and the glimpse we are given of Allison’s mother holding her Violin with blank eyes is beautifully haunting. I loved the way that Laura Howard was able to bring both sadness, beauty and pain all into the descriptions of the schizophrenic episodes. It reminds us that although there was a great deal of pain and heartbreak that Allison has to deal with by caring for her mother, there is still brief moments when her mother smiles, or plays a jolly tune on the Violin that reminds Allison what she is working for. Whilst I loved the relationship between Allison and Ethan and can’t wait to see it progress in the next book (pretty please :D) I was proud of Allison’s devotion to her mother, and knew that without that element to her, Allison would not be as loveable a character as she was.

The imagery of the fairy land (Tír na n’Óg) was stunning and beautifully woven into the story. I loved the imagery mirroring The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ which is just how I would have pictured the land myself. The descriptions of the sky, grass and trees were perfect and I honestly imagined myself there at that moment between the sky. As with Niamh’s home I loved the almost ethereal, elven quality that showed the power and wisdom of the King and Queen of Tír na n’Óg.

However, my favourite character in ‘The Forgotten Ones’ was Aodhan. I loved his back story and can’t wait to read more of him. I loved the roguish quality he had, yet the fierce loyalty he held for Allison, acting almost as her guardian. The pain that he’d suffered in his life was clear in his every action and I love the spark he has with Niamh, which I’d love to see explored in a second book.

Overall, 5 Stars and a fantastically beautiful read. I definitely recommend to all who love fantasy, romance, or are just looking for a book to escape into for a while.

*I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*


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Laura Howard

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Book Review – ‘Cross My Heart’ by Abigail Strom.

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Cross My Heart by Abigail Strom
(Landry #2)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary.

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SYNOPSIS

When opposites attract…

The last thing Jenna Landry wants is to fall in love. The former rock musician is getting ready to start a new job and a new life in L.A., and she’s only back in her hometown for the summer. Nothing could tempt her to stay any longer than that…not even the sexy doctor next door.

Michael Stone has a reputation for being as cold as ice. So what is it about his free-spirited neighbor that sets him on fire? The strait-laced M.D. has his hands full with his career and his teenage daughter, and even if he were looking for a relationship, he knows Jenna is all wrong for him. So why does being with her feel so right?

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Book Review – ‘Cross My Heart’ by Abigail Strom ~ 5 Stars!

This book was such a gem! I got it as a free ebook on amazon but I’d happily have paid full hardback RRP for it, because it was so wonderful.

This book was the first one of Abigail Strom’s stories that I had read, and as it is the second in the verse I can’t wait to download the others centred around the same family.

‘Cross My Heart’ is a heart-warming story of family, friendship and love, and it starts with a bang.

“I hate you.”

Michael Stone glanced over at the passenger seat, where his fourteen year old daughter slouched down with folded arms.

“I know.”

*shivers* Already I wince in sympathy. Having been a fourteen year old girl once I can easily relate to being overly dramatic and hormonal, but poor Michael. It can’t be easy knowing that your daughter hates your guts.

The back story reveals that Michael’s life revolves around his job as a surgeon, and despite his attempts to spend time with his daughter Claire, who lives with her Grandmother in another state, Claire doesn’t look like she’s planning to enter him into a ‘Father of the Year’ contest.

“Forget it, okay? Just forget it. I don’t know why I even try to make you understand. Just because you happened to contribute some sperm during the conception process doesn’t mean you care about me.”

Low blow really, but it’s clear already that Claire has some demons, and already I am yearning to know more about why Claire has such a deep dislike for her father.

Her mother, with whom Michael has an amicable divorce with ten years before, died in a car accident, leaving Claire in the care of her Grandparents. Something that Michael, despite his desire to have a good relationship with his daughter, has no imminent desire to change. As he believes he is far too busy to provide a proper home for his almost estranged daughter, who is clearly happy elsewhere.

“Then Claire reached out to turn on the radio, scanned quickly though the channels, and settled on a song that sounded as much like music as a bone saw. He put up with it for a few minutes before turning the radio off again.”

The differences between Claire and Michael hit me round the head, and immediately I want to see their relationship improved. But I know already it’s going to be a hard road if Michael can’t even listen to a few minutes of Claire’s favourite music.

In an amusing twist of fate, Michael’s next door neighbour happens to be Jenna Landry, “only the lead guitarist for the Red Mollies, one of the greatest all-girl bands in the entire history of rock and roll. At least until they broke up a few years ago.”

Michael’s assessment of the situation is one that all readers will agree with, even having only read 5 pages into the book.

The universe had sent his polar opposite to live next door to him, encased in the most beautiful body he’d ever laid eyes on.

As only a fourteen year old girl could do so well, Claire lays on the guilt as he explains that he’s never spoken to his neighbour, and desperate at trying to bridge the gap that has grown with his daughter in their absence, Michael desperately knocks on Jenna Landry’s door, hoping that she’d join them for dinner.

Jenna is fun, free and loves life. Staying in her Aunt’s house while she’s away on an extended holiday, Jenna feels unsure about being so close to home. Despite having a great relationship with her family, Jenna left home as soon as possible, wanting to explore the big wide world to her heart’s content, singing and playing guitar as she went. But since her younger sister’s death, the suggestions that she should live closer to home seems to weigh on her more, and worry seeps through her that she will end up being domesticated. Determined to keep her wild side, she is psyching herself up for her ex-bands reunion tour and hoping that it’ll bring a new direction to her life.

I loved Jenna from the start, seeing how normal she was, was greatly refreshing. So often we hear in the gossip columns about the big bad world of media and how actresses and musicians go off the deep end in a haze of fame, drugs and alcohol. Jenna couldn’t have been more the opposite. She shows us the side that the gossip columns don’t want us to know, the kind, fun and generous side to celebrities.

Having been shamelessly ‘oggling’ her next door neighbour Michael since she moved in, she is more than surprised when he asks her over to dinner in an attempt to help him win over his daughter.

And so begins a wonderful story of family, friendship and love all tied up together beautifully.

Jenna and Claire make it their mission to teach Michael everything there is to know about music, and despite his aversion to the idea at first, he soon finds himself immersed in a world of music that helps him understand and build a powerful relationship with his daughter.

As Michael and Claire’s relationship develops we also see a connection between Michael and Jenna, and I loved how Jenna and Michael realised that in order to have functional and loving relationships, they had to make sacrifices elsewhere in their life.

This story was a fantastic read. 5 stars and a definite recommended read.


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Abigail Strom

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Book Review – ‘The Adulteress’ by Noëlle Harrison

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The Adulteress by Noëlle Harrison
Genres: Adult, Romance, History, Mystery.

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SYNOPSIS

Nicholas is running away, both from his marriage and an unfaithful wife, and the comfortable life he has known in Dublin. He buys a run down house in rural Cavan, right in the heart of Ireland, and embarks on a huge renovation project. While he is there, the house seems to speak to him – there are voices coming from an untraceable source, the seductive smell of baking seeps through the walls, and there is the unmistakable ethereal presence of a woman from the past. She is June Fanning, an English woman who lived in the house in 1941. As her narrative combines with Nicholas’s, the story of The Adulteress is revealed – and Nicholas begins to discover exactly what went wrong with his own marriage.

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Book Review  – ‘The Adulteress’ by Noëlle Harrison ~ 4 Stars!

The Adulteress is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I have read. It captivated me from the first chapter and I loved reading the descriptions of June Fanning’s childhood in pre World War II England, and how her love for her sister and father made her isolate herself from her Mother. Leaving war-torn London for the Irish countryside with her husband, I felt deeply for June when she found it difficult to find a place for herself. I felt heartbroken for her as her husband left her to fight in the War even though he wasn’t required to, even after knowing she was pregnant, and I felt angry with him for how aloof he was with her in his letters.

I loved the character of Phelim, with whom June grows a strong connection with after her husband leaves for War. Married to a woman who he knows does not love him, he loses himself in his art work, and I loved how cleverly Noëlle Harrison intertwined the story of the adulteress, who we assume to be June, and her lover an artist, who we assume to be Phelim, before shocking us with their true identities.

Nicholas’ story was also deeply touching. Having left his wife after she admitted to sleeping with another man, he moves from Dublin into a falling apart house deep in the rural Irish countryside.  Immediately I felt a connection and deep sympathy for Nicholas who was obviously unable to settle in his new life. Yet, as we are given glimpses into the reasons behind the problems in his marriage, I also felt a deep sadness for what both him and his wife had suffered, and whilst before I would have taken Nicholas’ side, I now hoped for redemption and reconciliation between him and his wife.

The descriptions of the adulteress and her artist lover, as well as the beauty of the apple orchard was captivating and I felt mesmerised by the powerful imagery behind the storyline.

So why couldn’t I give this story five stars? Up until the last two pages, I was ready to give five stars, having loved the powerful story, and being happy with the way Nicholas’ story unfolded. But then, the ending left me feeling as though I’d completely missed the point of the story. The fact that June realising her true love was her husband seemed very strange considering how only a few pages earlier she’d been describing how much she wished she’d had a life and family with Phelim. Although her husband’s true feelings are discovered in a letter left for June, that Nicholas reads in order for June’s spirit to move on, I found this ending very forced, particularly after all of June’s character development in the novel.

Overall this was a beautiful and captivating read, but I was deeply saddened by the way I felt some of the characters didn’t get the ending they deserved, or had worked for during the book. So I give it 4 Stars but I definitely recommend giving it a read.


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Noëlle Harrison

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Book Review – ‘The Witch’s Curse’ by David James.

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The Witch’s Curse by David James
(Legend of the Dreamer #0.5)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy.

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SYNOPSIS

Before Kate met Calum in Light of the Moon, Magda met Samuel.

Magda cannot stop her heart from running rampant with the beating drum of love. Whenever her eyes find Samuel, she can feel the pull of strings so vividly alive against her heart. But for Magda, love goes against fate; her destiny as a witch forbids her to need anything but the dark binds of magic. Soon, the witch’s curse begins to call to Magda. To deny her love for Samuel would be unthinkable, but to defy her destiny would be impossible. Before the curse can consume her, Magda must decide between Samuel and destiny, and her heart may beat too savagely for anyone to stop.

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Book Review – ‘The Witch’s Curse’ by David James ~ 5 Stars!

“The stars shine so brightly before they die, Magda. And even after they blink away, we can still see them. Stars don’t fade like people do. In ways, they are forever pieces of an infinite sky. We are the same, Magda. You are my star, and I am yours. There might be a piece of our forever that we cannot see, but we must believe it’s there, waiting at the end.”

The Witch’s Curse is a beautifully written, and powerful story that I know will stay with me forever.  A brilliant prequel to ‘Light of the Moon’ we see how the knowledge of fate and destiny can stand in the way of unbreakable love, and how not all lovers get their happy ending.

David James’ description of dark and light is inspiring, as we are reminded that all darkness has a light, and that in light, darkness always lurks beneath. This gives us hope that although Magda chose her path as a Witch she will still always remember that she is capable of love. Even as Magda began to descend into darkness, I loved how she still held hope that the next girl fated with Violet eyes would be stronger in the face of her destiny.

The story raises questions as to how much we can fight against destiny, and whether destiny is ever a real question. We see how Magda is raised with the belief that love and blood magic can never be mixed. A fact that is ingrained in her by her mother. It makes us question whether Magda would ever have been able to escape her destiny when any other path hadn’t been shown to her? What if her Father had stood by her Mother when he’d realised her fate? Would her Mother have still told her daughter that love was not possible?

A heartbreaking tale, we are left wondering whether Magda would have been able to escape her destiny if she’d tried.

A beautiful tale of destiny, love and heartbreak, that you can tell is written from the heart. 5 Stars and a definite recommended read.


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David James

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Book Review ~ “What Precision, Such Restraint” by Phil Jourdan

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What Precision, Such Restraint by Phil Jourdan.
Genres: Short Stories, Experimental Literature.


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SYNOPSIS

A young man seeking to hack into his own unconscious mind. An academic conference on the metaphysics of flies. An apocalyptic world where punctuation has been outlawed. An eating disorder that produces collectible antiques.

A mix of allegory, satire, randomly generated numbers, spam messages rearranged into haiku form, plagiarism, and bad writing presented in the more sophisticated if still unpalatable guise of literary experimentation, Phil Jourdan’s collection of stories is infuriating, challenging and other marketing buzzwords.

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Book Review: “What Precision, Such Restraint.” by Phil Jourdan ~ 5 Stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

Wow! What can I say about ‘What Precision, Such Restraint’.
First off, this is not the sort of book I would normally choose to read. I’m more of a romance/happily-ever-after girl, so I was both excited and hesitant to read this, knowing that it was a form of literary experimentation, but I’m so glad I did!

‘What Precision, Such Restraint’ is both genius and mind-boggling, yet even when I didn’t understand some of the context, I couldn’t bring myself to stop reading. Each of the short-stories, whilst very dramatically painted, were so true to real life and everyday issues and people. Phil Jourdan’s writing style was electric and I can’t think of any other book where I have been so captivated by the inner thoughts of, quite frankly, unlikeable people.

Although I found it difficult to know whether I’d understood the basic message of each story, as there were many components to them, I liked how I immediately saw how each story represented a real life issue in today’s society. I loved the strong metaphor’s used throughout the book, with the society repressed by the ‘Punctuation Police’ almost tragically mirroring many of today’s societies where communities are repressed by the government. I think it also gives readers a real wake up call. If regimes and governments continue on in the repressive way they currently are, in addition to further scientific discoveries, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the simplicity with which they freedom of thought could be taken away.

As I think this book is very individual to each person who reads it, I feel that what people take from each story will be very different. In the story on Bulimia, I felt strongly that the message was about addiction. The woman with Bulimia doesn’t want to stop because, through this act, she produces antiques. Why would she want to stop it? It strongly mirrors the thought processes in a Bulimic girl who would wonder why they should stop. If it’s making them thinner then something good has come out of it surely? It was sadly tragic how much this represented this issue in everyday life.

A fantastic, enthralling read, which although did confuse me at times, was so inspirational and quite frankly genius that I would grab up any other book by Phil Jourdan in a heartbeat.

(I’ll also be recommending to my tutor’s at my university that Phil Jourdan write all the textbooks on my course, as I understood more of the unconscious mind from his descriptions in one of these short stories, than I have ever understood in three years as a Psychology undergraduate.)

5 Stars and a definite recommended read.


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Phil Jourdan

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The New Melody

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Entry for the Dark Fairy Queen Bridal Shower!

Congratulations to Anna and Michael! I wish you every joy and happiness together! Here’s my gift to you.

Title: The New Melody
Author: Sorcha O’Dowd
E-book: Yes*

Her fingers gently caressed the keys of the Piano, the thin layer of dust coating her shaking finger tips as she drew them softly over the smooth keys, careful not to press too hard. She stopped, as her right thumb automatically took its place on Middle C, a movement still so natural. Even after so long.

“Breathe.” She reminded herself silently, before taking a deep shuddering breath.

She pressed lightly and the echoing sound of the long-since tuned Piano reverberated through the dusty, abandoned room.

Heaving a sob, she pulled her hand back quickly, covering her mouth as she waited for the pain of remembrance to slice through her heart.

It didn’t.

She waited another minute.

Still nothing.

It took another minute before she laughed. A laugh of surprise and…was it hope?

Reaching forward again, she placed both hands on the keys and cautiously began to play.

The notes grew stronger as her fingertips flew across the keys, not at all hindered by the years of abstinence. Notes that told her story. The story of the helpless girl who’d fallen madly and naively in love, the pain of her heart being cruelly crushed, and the despair so deep that she’d existed through a layer of numbness.

But then the sharps and flats of G minor stopped suddenly, replaced by a sweet melody in G major that spoke of friendship, loyalty, and an overwhelming love that had fixed her.

She didn’t stop playing as she sensed him enter the room, just closed her eyes, letting the music flow through her, hoping he would understand the meaning of the melody.

He’d fixed her.

Him.

As the notes began to slow, and gradually faded to nothing, she took a moment to revel in the charged stillness of the room. The echoes of the notes rang, disturbing the dust particles which shone like fireflies in the strip of early morning sunlight that beamed through a gap in the thin, dilapidated curtains.

Finally she turned, smiling softly as she saw him hastily wipe at his eyes. Because he’d been through it too.

He’d been hurt by love.

And she’d fixed him.

Just like he had her.

“Ready to go?” She asked quietly, unwilling to disturb the peace in the room with unnecessary words.

Words had never been necessary with them. A look, or a soft touch to the arm spoke more to them than any words ever could.

So she knew what he was asking from the way he walked towards her, his eyes desperate as he reached for her hand, caressing her fingers softly with his thumb.

“Yes.” She replied to his silent question, feeling her eyes blur with tears of happiness.

“I haven’t asked you yet.” He chided, tears of his own now falling even as a smile grew on his face.

“So ask me then.” She teased.

“I don’t have a ring.” He said, his ice blue eyes apologising even as they twinkled.

“Just ask me.”

So he did.

*

Book Review ~ ‘Starting Over’ by Sue Moorcroft.

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Starting Over by Sue Moorcroft.
(Middledip #1)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, ChickLit.


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SYNOPSIS

New home, new friends, new love. Can starting over be that simple?

Tess Riddell reckons her beloved Freelander is more reliable than any man – especially her ex -fiancé, Olly Gray. She’s moving on from her old life and into the perfect cottage in the country.

Miles Rattenbury’s passions? Old cars and new women! Romance? He’s into fun rather than commitment.

When Tess crashes the Freelander into his breakdown truck, they find that they’re nearly neighbours – yet worlds apart. Despite her overprotective parents and a suddenly attentive Olly, she discovers the joys of village life and even forms an unlikely friendship with Miles. Then, just as their relationship develops into something deeper, an old flame comes looking for him…

Is their love strong enough to overcome the past? Or will it take more than either of them is prepared to give?

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Book Review: ‘Starting Over’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ 5 Stars!

One of the main things that I love so much about Sue Moorcroft’s storytelling, is how realistic it is. We all love a good suspense or paranormal novel every now and then, but there’s always something so beautiful about reading a book where you can really connect to the people, the place and the situations.

Tess is a wonderful, broken character that from the first chapter we want more than anything to see fixed. Life, (and prick of an ex-fiance Olly,) has dealt her a hard blow and left her with a deep fear of letting people into her heart, in the worry that she’ll lose them.

‘I’ll dump all this crap in the kitchen, shall I?’

For the first time she smiled, and it lit her face like a sunbeam on a stormy day. ‘You’re a regular Sir Galahad.’

Miles “Ratty” Rattenbury, is not what you’d call the most conventional of knights in shining armour. A car enthusiast and owner of the local garage, the relationship between Ratty and Tess gets off to a stuttering start, and whilst I have a tendency to eagerly hope and pray for the long-awaited moment where the hero and heroine both confess their undying love to each other, I was more than content with the realistic pace of their developing relationship. Tess had been hurt badly leaving her with very deep trust issues, and Ratty had not been the most committed of gents in his past relationships, so a rushed ‘opposites attract’ romance would have been very out of character. Instead, Moorcroft gives us a beautiful journey where Tess and Ratty move from a tentative friendship to a beautiful all consuming love which grows stronger and is endangered by Tess’ fears of relationship failure and abandonment. Reading the last few chapters was a huge emotional rollercoaster, as you begin to question whether love really can conquer all.

‘Starting Over’ is beautifully written and, despite being a love story at heart, also gives a clear depiction of the atmosphere of Village life in ‘Middledip’. As anyone who lives in a close-knit Village community would know, there are the bossy mothers who strive for perfection and are the lead of the village planning committee, the childhood sweethearts who married and had children, and the old lady you’d wave to when you passed her house. In ‘Starting Over’, we are shown a range of characters for whom the village of Middledip is their life, and this was one of the reasons that I loved this book so much. Under the romance, pain of the past and the hope for the future, a huge part of Tess’ development is how she finds herself fitting in with Village life, and although in many situations it would be easiest for her to run away and start a new life somewhere else, she is always drawn back to her cottage ‘Honeybun’, unable to separate herself from her home permanently.

In short, ‘Starting Over’ was a beautifully honest and realistic story that had me laughing out loud and crying in despair in equal measure. 5 stars and a definite recommended read.


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Portrait of Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft

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Book Review ~ ‘Ceremony in Death’ (In Death #5) by J. D. Robb.

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Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb.
(…In Death #5)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Future/SciFi, Mystery, Horror, Thriller.

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SYNOPSIS

Even in an age of cutting-edge technology, old beliefs die hard…

Conducting a top secret investigation into the death of a fellow police officer has Lieutenant Eve Dallas treading on dangerous ground. She must put professional ethics personal loyalties. But when a dead body is placed outside her home, Eve takes the warning personally. With her husband, Roarke, watching her every move, Eve is drawn into the most dangerous case of her career. Every step she takes makes her question her own beliefs of right and wrong – and brings her closer to a confrontation with humanity’s most seductive form of evil…

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Book Review: ‘Ceremony in Death’ (In Death #5) by J. D. Robb ~ 5 stars!

Having devoured the first four books in the ‘…In Death’ series and easily rated them each at five stars, I feel almost sad that I cannot give ‘Ceremony in Death’ a much higher rating than five stars!

The intrigue that J.D. Robb injects into every one of her ‘In Death’ novels has always thrilled me, keeping me reading far into the night to work alongside Eve Dallas in her investigations. Whilst the first four books did this perfectly, for me ‘Ceremony in Death’ takes this a step further, and I instantly connected deeply with the storyline of the ‘unknown.’

Eve’s case in this ‘In Death’ novel is new territory for her. Having always been a character who views things as either black and white, seeing Eve being thown into the unknown world of the supernatural was fascinating. I loved watching Eve’s character develop as she was forced to see things from the perspective of people very different to her. Having seen Eve go from having faith in very few people to her having to understand the mind of somebody who relies on faith as part of their everyday functioning was brilliantly written.

The story of Wiccan’s versus Sadists was also very respectfully portrayed. Being Wiccan myself I felt incredibly happy with Robb’s strong underlying message that Wicca is a peaceful, loving religion. Although I can see the appeal in giving Witches frightfully impressive powers in fiction, I am thrilled that Robb expresses clearly through many different characters, that Wicca is a way of life and a religion, not a power-hungry cult. This distinction was clearly made by showing contrasts with the worshippers of Satan, a being that Wiccan’s do not actually believe in.

Another plotline of this novel which I really enjoyed was the extra time that Eve spent with Roarke. It was wonderful to see Eve beginning to accept Roarke’s protectiveness, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship progresses further in the rest of the series.

Where in Robb’s previous ‘In Death’ novels, I always had to second guess my first instinct at who the killer was, I liked that Robb gave glaringly obvious hints that Selena was the one in charge of the murders. It gave the reader a reason to justify disagreeing with Eve’s judgement in the case, where in the earlier novels we would normally take Eve’s word as law until proven otherwise.

However, there is one criticism I would make, which I feel was a problem with all of the books in the series so far, which is that the ending is too abrupt. The final confrontation between the ‘goody’ and ‘baddy’ tends to happen in less than five pages, and we don’t see the outcome of Eve’s relationships with the suspects she felt obliged to question, especially in this book where emotional connections were formed. Nevertheless, this did not in any way ruin the book for me, and if I could give it a higher rating than five I definitely would!

5 stars and a definite recommended read!


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J.D. Robb

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