Book Release! French Fry by Glynis Astie

19 May

Almost a year ago, I read the first two books in a trilogy, and I was hooked. French Toast and French Twist were the first two books in a series by Glynis Astie, based on her quirky meet-cute and shotgun marriage with a handsome Frenchman and the chaos that ensued. I really enjoyed the two books (you can read my review here), so I was excited when Astie reached out about the launch of the final book in the series, French Fry!

Here’s an overview of what happens when three weddings end in a looming patter of tiny feet…

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. French Fry by Glynis AstieAll she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

I’m keen to know what happens, and you should be too! If I haven’t convinced you yet, come back on Thursday when I post my official review. For now, I’m lucky enough to be able to give you some words from Glynis Astie herself, about how her travel and marrying a Frenchman impact her writing and inspire her!

Travel Inspiration

One of the biggest difficulties I have as an author is finding inspiration. I wish I could be one of those people who has ideas spilling out of her head; someone who has characters fighting in her mind to get their stories told. Well, not in a creepy way. I’m not looking to pad my husband’s file for my commitment hearing or anything, but I wouldn’t mind a little stroke of brilliance–courtesy of a fictional character–now and then. Alas, this has yet to happen.

The truth is, I never planned to be a writer. I toiled away in corporate America for years, until my second son was born and I somehow fell into writing. My new career began when I decided to write a series of books based on the whirlwind romance my husband and I experienced, regaling the world with our swoon-worthy story. A big part of this epic tale is our cultural differences which result from our being raised in two very different countries. He is a charismatic Frenchman and I, well, I am a neurotic American. We make for quite the interesting pair!

Clearly, I added a dose of France to my life in the form of my husband, so inevitably, I would travel to this majestic country on a regular basis to visit his family. Meeting my new French relatives for the first time opened my eyes to a whole other way of living. The laid-back attitude, flexible nature and raucous sense of humor exhibited by my husband’s father and uncles took my breath away. Nothing seemed to faze them! His mother and aunts took me into the fold immediately and did everything possible to make me feel welcome–including sharing the family’s top secret cream puff recipe. The outpouring of love I was lucky enough to experience on that first trip made me want to be a better person. I knew there was a more relaxed, trusting and perhaps adventurous version of myself in there somewhere.

After a few days in my husband’s childhood home, I found myself affected not only by the interaction I had with his family, but also with the country itself. I discovered breathtaking scenery, exquisite architecture and riveting history. But what threw me the most was the extremely fluid sense of time. Things will get done when they get done. If an opportunity to do something great shows itself, a deadline may have to be pushed. Beauty, wonder and fun are rather unpredictable. For someone who lives and dies by her datebook, this concept was decidedly foreign.

And then there’s the food! I’m a girl who LOVES to eat. You can’t turn a corner in France without running smack into something delectable–be it cheese, bread, confection, wine… Oh, the list goes on and on! Given the astounding quality of the boulangeries and restaurants (don’t get me started on the patisseries), I know I could never live in France. There aren’t enough exercises in the world to combat the pounds I would pack on in the presence of such delicious offerings, but it’s comforting to know I have a place to visit which will inspire me to do great things!

We’ll be taking a trip to visit our French relatives this summer and the timing couldn’t be better! I’m ready to start writing my fourth novel and I’m convinced there is great insight waiting for me in those rolling hills, gorgeous beaches, historic villages and, of course, my mother-in-law’s kitchen. It may take longer than expected to find said inspiration, so I’ll have no problem extending the trip if necessary. That’s how dedicated I am to my craft.

Thanks for coming to share Glynis! I’m super excited for French Fry, and have my fingers crossed that this weeks book launch goes well. If you’d like to win your very own copy of this trilogy, you can enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway here (US only) – or, you could by a copy for yourself on Amazon.

I’ll see you back here on Thursday to give you some more reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on this great chick lit read!

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REVIEW: Noise by Brett Garcia Rose

30 Apr

Noise Book Cover Noise
Brett Garcia Rose
Crime/Thriller
236

The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape. 

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City.

What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police — some corrupt, some merely compromised — are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

As the cover suggests, Noise is a novel full of darkness and anguish. The true sadness of the story was contrasted with the beautiful writing, with Garcia Rose using words to create images and emotions in this fast-paced thriller.

Leon is a fearsome character. Born and raised in Nigeria, deaf and gun in hand, he was saved by an American family. It was then that he met Lily, his new sister, and instant champion. While Garcia Rose goes into frustratingly few details about his adoption, life in America, and how he forms such a strong bond with Lily, it’s clear that Leon would do anything for her.

However, Lily disappeared ten years ago and Leon hasn’t heard from her since he read her farewell letter and learned that she had run away to make a life for herself in New York. One day, he receives a postcard from her and knows she’s in trouble.

When we meet Leon, he’s turning New York City upside down in his search for his sister. His ‘disability’ does not disable him at all – in fact, the fact that Leon is deaf does not really change the way the story unfolds at all, except to add to his mysterious, fearsome demeanour. Not afraid to shed blood in his quest to find his sister, Leon breaks all of the rules.

The novel is quite short – somewhere between short story and novel. So, the action happens rapidly. One lead turns into another, and then suddenly the story is at it’s end, and everything comes to a head.

Never really about a happy ending, or coming out unscathed himself, Noise reads somewhat like a mission of self-destructive, and is definitely not a light read. Emotionally, it is intense. I’d have loved a little more background, and a bit more character development, but overall the story was very unique and riveting. I was also particularly interested by Leon’s childhood in Nigeria, as I work closely with South Sudanese refugees who faced a similarly troubled upbringing. For a darker read, Noise is definitely worth a look.

Amazon

I received a copy of Noise from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

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REVIEW: Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

23 Apr

Secrets in the Sky Book Cover Secrets in the Sky
Saffron Sweeting
Pauline Wiles
Chick Lit
340

How far should you go to keep a secret?

No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.

Secrets in the Sky had a lot going on. Family death, unexpected inheritance, at least two family secrets, some blackmail, old friends, a phobia, romantic misunderstandings and gossipy neighbours. That said, Wiles combined all of these elements to make a great chick lit read.

Sophie was a layered, complex character who’s life was really in a bit of a mess. Thanks to reconnecting with Bella, an old friend, she starts getting help with her crippling fear of flying – a great idea, seeing as everyone in Saffron Sweeting thinks that she is a flight attendant! Slowly, as Sophie’s well-meaning lies begin to unravel, she starts to find her way back to who she really wanted to be.

Saffron Sweeting was filled with quirky characters that helped flesh out the story, but didn’t overwhelm it. Some secrets lasted until the last pages, others came out along the way, with the help of an old flame and a helpful pilot.

I really enjoyed this book, and would love to read more about what happens to them next. I know Wiles has written another book, Saving Saffron Sweeting, which is set in the same town but features different main characters… but I want to know more about what happens to Sophie, Tom, and Bella!

Amazon | Book Depository

I received a copy of Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles from the lovely Samantha at Chick Lit Plus, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman

16 Apr

The Marrying Type Book Cover The Marrying Type
Laura Chapman
Chick Lit
322

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

My test of whether an e-book I read is truly good or not is whether or not I pop over to Book Depository and put it on my (rather long) wishlist, so that I can add a hard copy to my library. Guess what? I just added The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman to my wishlist.

Straight off the bat, I loved Elliot, the main character. She sees a problem and sets her mind to fixing it, showing a strength of character that I really appreciated. My heart ached for her losses and the crap her family pulls on her, and sang when things went her way.

As much as I loved Elliot, she was by no means the only great character in this book. Handsome, philanthropic, successful and kind Eric was a dream (it’s so unfortunate that fictional men aren’t on the market in reality), crazy Heloise would remind any girl of someone she knows, and beautiful bride-to-be Sadie was a darling, and gay bestie Smyth was a hoot. With such a great cast of characters, it would’ve been hard for Chapman to go wrong.

Luckily, the plot was also strong. Not everything was about romance romance romance. Elliot was a business woman, and it was interesting to read about how she pulled weddings together. Plus, the added element of being on a reality TV show at the same time gave another dimension and was quite interesting.

This book was hard to put down, and left me with a smile on my face – albeit a little sad that I don’t have an Eric of my own to live happily ever after with! I’d love to read more about what happens to these characters after this book ends (Laura, that’s a hint to write a sequel!!), and definitely recommend this one to chick lit lovers everywhere.

Amazon

Keen for some goodies, and copies of Chapman’s other books? Click the link below for a giveaway!

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I received a copy of The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman from the lovely Samantha at Chick Lit Plus, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: The Boardwalk Antiques Shop – a novel in 3 parts

2 Apr

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop Book Cover The Boardwalk Antiques Shop
Tangerine Street
Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore
Chick Lit
315

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colourful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and renowned bed-and-breakfasts. The Boardwalk Antiques Shop is an exclusive shop where every antique has a story, and each story possesses the gift to match true love. The customer who buys an antique also buys its story and soon discovers that its story unites the past with the present, creating an unexpected romantic future…

“Where Every Antique has a Story”

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: Jennifer is newest owner of The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, inherited from her aunt. When Jennifer arrives in Seashell Beach, her first priority is to meet with a realtor to sell the place. She laughs out loud when she discovers the realtor’s name is Mr. Studly. But the more Jennifer gets to know Paul Studly, the more she finds reasons to stay and run the antiques shop herself.

SOLVING FOR X: Abbie is only a little bit obsessed with antiques, okay, a lot. So when Holden, an out-of-town business executive, tries to purchase the tin soldiers that Abbie’s had her eye on, Abbie refuses to back down. The antiques shop owner issues a challenge: whoever comes up with the best story for wanting the soldiers, will become the new owner. Abbie isn’t about to let some fancy executive beat her out, no matter how charming he is.

A STITCH IN TIME: When Cate learns that antiques dealer Henry Lancaster has purchased the sewing machine left to her by her grandmother, Cate is determined to get it back. What she isn’t counting on is that Henry has just as much claim as Cate. And it doesn’t help that Henry is good-looking and apparently single. Getting to know Henry becomes an unexpected surprise, sending her life into a sudden detour.

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore, was written in a very unique format. It is made up of three short stories, set in a small town. Each story is written by a different writer, but each story overlaps, and has a connection with the Boardwalk Antique Shop.

I love books about women running creative small businesses, but I’m not always sold on short stories. So, I started this novel with mixed expectations. Pleasantly, I was surprised! Each short story had very different leading women, and I quickly got involved with their stories and decisions. While each story was short, they were self contained and loose ends were nicely tied up. Of course, there’s an element of suspended reality when a couple can meet and fall in love within a hundred pages, but that was helped by the fact that the stories took place over the span of months, not days. We might just have read a snipped of their story, but in their timeline there was more than a few days between first-sigh and love.

Although each story was written by a different writer, their styles were very similar and they flowed together nicely. That said, the main characters were all very unique, which meant that the stories were set apart from one another. In fact, the stories were interesting enough that I would have liked to seem them expanded into full length stories, particularly the story of Jennifer taking over her Aunt’s antiques shop.

For lovers of chick lit and happy endings, I would recommend stepping into the world of Seashell Beach. The Boardwalk Antiques Shop was the centre-point for this novel, but there is another book in the series, featuring the Fortune Cafe, with the same three-part format, aptly named The Fortune Cafe. I’ve already downloaded it, and am looking forward to reading about more of the characters in Seashell Beach!

Amazon

I received a copy of The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore from Inspired Kathy of Book Blasts and Blog Tours, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

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REVIEW: Cost of Life by Joshua Corin

26 Mar

Cost of Life Book Cover Cost of Life
Joshua Corin
Thriller
294

Happy Independence Day. You’re all going to die.
 
Life can’t be better for veteran pilot Larry Walder. He has a great job, a terrific kid, a gorgeous wife—and no inkling that tonight will be the end of the world as he knows it. In the early hours before the Fourth of July, three men break into Larry’s home. And as the day lurches on to its terrifying course, a life is taken, and Flight 816 from Atlanta to Cozumel, Mexico, vanishes off the radar.
 
In the air, Larry must find a way to save his family, his crew, and his passengers. On the ground, disgraced FBI agent Xanadu Marx goes rogue, making it her mission to track down the missing flight before the hijackers reach their diabolical endgame. With the casualties racking up and the world’s busiest airport under lockdown, a message arrives: This is no ordinary hijacking, no typical hostage crisis. This ransom is a totally different beast—the first hint of a conspiracy that might bring America to its knees.

Cost of Life started with a ‘regular’ plane hijacking. You know, man flies plane off course to save his kidnapped wife and child. Coupled with some pretty flowery descriptions, I wasn’t 100% hooked. However, then things took a very interesting turn.

Picking up the pace, we learn why the Pilot, Larry, was blackmailed into taking the plane off course. In a Hunger Games twist for the modern age, the hijackers pit humanity against itself, in an aim to demonstrate America’s philosophy that money can buy anything – and everything.

As the plot unravelled, the events on the plane were by far more coherent and interesting than the action taking place outside of it; rescue attempts, and bureaucracy. There were some interesting characters, some of whom I can see being in future books and developed further. However, there were a few plot holes, and a slightly strange ending – in that is was very perhaps too neat and tidy, too happy, given the threatened carnage.

Overall, the unique reason for the hijacking was the best part of the book, and I was invested in finding out how it turned out. That said, some of the other story details were a little weak. I’d read more of Corin’s books, but I wouldn’t say that this was a smash-hit. Still, worth reading for the interesting notion raised in the hijacking!

Amazon

I received a copy of Cost of Life by Joshua Corin from Lisa at TLC Tours, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVEIW: The Kill Shot by Nichole Christoff

19 Mar

The Kill Shot Book Cover The Kill Shot
A Jamie Sinclair Novel
Nichole Christoff
Thriller
282

Jamie Sinclair’s father has never asked her for a favour in her life. The former two-star general turned senator is more in the habit of giving his only child orders. So when he requests Jamie’s expertise as a security specialist, she can’t refuse—even though it means slamming the brakes on her burgeoning relationship with military police officer Adam Barrett. Just like that, Jamie hops aboard a flight to London with a U.S. State Department courier carrying a diplomatic pouch in an iron grip.
 
Jamie doesn’t have to wait long to put her unique skills to good use. When she and the courier are jumped by goons outside the Heathrow terminal, Jamie fights them off—but the incident puts her on high alert. Someone’s willing to kill for the contents of the bag. Then a would-be assassin opens fire in crowded Covent Garden, and Jamie is stunned to spot a familiar face: Adam Barrett, who saves her life with a single shot and calmly slips away. Jamie’s head—and her heart—tell her that something is very wrong. But she’s come way too far to turn back now.

A few months ago, I reviewed The Kill List, the first novel in the Jamie Sinclair series. I liked the feisty female security specialist with a take-no-prisoners attitude. The Kill Shot is the second book in the series, and Jamie returned in full force.

The Kill Shot saw Jamie off-balance from the beginning. When her father, a hard-ass senator whose approval Jamie desperately desires, asks her to do a ‘favour’, she finds herself in London. What was supposed to be a basic security detail job turns into a race against time to keep a Middle Eastern defector safe from the political forces who want to see her dead – or kept alive to be used as a bargaining tool.

I like political thrillers, so was familiar with the shady way that the players were conducting their business throughout this novel. However, there were times when Jamie, a professional, seemed a little behind the eight ball. Perhaps it was all the romance throwing her off balance…

While there were romantic undertones to the first book (the lovely Barrett was quite the charmer), in this book Barrett faced competition in the form of posh, gorgeous, cheeky Philip (who also was quite the charmer). With the two men vying for her attention, Jamie was at best a little distracted during her time in London. Understandable, I would have had trouble choosing between these two guys!! That said, there was a fair bit of focus on the romance in this book, perhaps at the detriment of the thriller aspect. However, it was well written, and kept me hooked… though perhaps a little more invested in the Barrett/Philip storyline than the political aspect!

While I enjoyed this book, I must admit that I preferred the first book in the series. It seemed a little more focused, and the mystery was more developed. That said, I’m partial to a little chick lit, and don’t mind when romance pops up amid gunfire! This book is definitely still worth a read. I’m looking forward to seeing where Christoff takes the character next!

Amazon

I received a copy of The Kill Shot by Nichole Christoff from the lovely Lisa at TLC Tours, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

5 Mar

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes Book Cover All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes
Betsy St. Amant
Chick Lit
320

Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself her is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Have you ever seen Cupcake Wars? Loved it? Then this sweet as pie Southern baking adventure will be right up your alley! Basically, this is the story of that baking competition (with a different name…), from the point of view of a contestant.

Kat Varland is a creative baker trapped in a traditional bakery. Her best friend, Lucas, enters her in the bake-off to boost her confidence, and win her love (which, unbeknownst to him, he already has!). However, he didn’t read the fine print – if she wins, she’ll be moving across the country. Without him.

Written from both Kat and Lucas’ points of view, the book is slightly frustrating in that the reader immediately knows that the characters are in love with one another, but the characters themselves are a little slow figuring that out.

That said, the characters are interesting and well-written, and I always like chick lit that explores the narrative from the man’s point of view. The supporting cast could have been more developed, because I actually really liked them and felt they could have been even more involved.

The competition was well described – having watched the TV show (which is never directly referenced as inspiration… but it clearly was), I knew the set up and appreciated reading about how everything unfolded! Plus, cupcakes are my weakness, and there were lots of tantalising cupcakes being baked and eaten throughout!

Definitely another good chick lit read – I’ve been on a roll recently! FYI, this is another ‘clean’ book. Nothing full frontal here! Worth a read, especially for the budding bakers out there.

Book Depository | Amazon

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REVIEW: Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson

28 Feb

Under a Georgia Moon Book Cover Under a Georgia Moon
Cindy Roland Anderson
Chick Lit
266

Addie Heywood thought she was doing okay after her fiancé dumped her just weeks before their wedding, claiming he’d found someone else more compatible with his health food tastes. But when he marries the other woman three months later, Addie needs to get away. Leaving her home in Idaho, she escapes to Mitchel Creek, Georgia to visit her Aunt Janie. She just wants to spend the next two weeks enjoying her aunt’s southern cooking, not dodging the guys her aunt is determined to set her up with.

Chase Nichols isn’t looking for love. His dream is to trade his computer mouse for his guitar and make it big in the country music world. If he can land a job in Nashville, he might have a shot at getting discovered. His plans get derailed when he does his neighbor a favor and picks up her niece, Addie, at the airport. Things get even more complicated when his ex-girlfriend comes back into the picture. That’s when he hatches a new plan. Since Addie wants to avoid her aunt’s matchmaking schemes, and he wants to avoid his ex-girlfriend, they’ll fool the world by pretending to date. What neither of them counts on is actually falling in love.

This book was a charming ‘clean’* Southern romance, and I really enjoyed it. The story was simple, and somewhat predictable, but it was a great afternoon chick lit read! Main character Addie was sweet and spunky – I was rooting for her. It was also interesting to read the story from Chase’s perspective as we went along; I suppose it’s not often that you read about Southern courtship from the perspective of a restrained Christian male.

Although it was fairly obvious that Addie and Chase were going to become an ‘item’, that didn’t bother me at all. Let’s be honest, most Chick Lit has an easy-to-spot romance appear in the first chapter or so! When you pick one up, you’re hardly expecting to be surprised by it. Really, it’s all about how the romance UNRAVELS! And this romance is particularly sweet, which seems to be the Southern way.

I liked all of the characters, particularly Aunt Janie and her baked goodies, although there wasn’t a huge focus on anyone other than Addie and Chase. I also liked how gentlemanly Chase was – he was kind-hearted, thoughtful AND cute! It was a nice change of pace from an arrogant or rude male lead, who needs to be ‘changed’. Chase was great as he was, and the focus stayed on their struggle to fit relationships in with their career dreams.

Both Addie and Chase were reluctant to give up their dreams to pursue a romance, and it was interesting to see how they worked through their priorities. I felt it was a realistic dilemma (even if their solution may have  been an uncommon one!).

Overall, for a quick, feel-good romance, I’d definitely recommend this book. It may not have been ground-breaking, but when I put it down I was more than satisfied, and it stuck in my head for several days. There was even a little mystery and danger thrown in! What more could I ask for?!

Amazon

* Stay tuned for my thoughts on ‘clean’ romances, and why I’m using inverted commas, later this week.

I received a copy of Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson from Kathy at Book Blasts and Blog Tours in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

19 Feb

The Swimmer Book Cover The Swimmer
Joakim Zander
Thriller
432

Klara Walldeen, orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents on a remote Swedish archipelago, is now a political aide in Brussels. And she has just seen something she shouldn’t: something people will kill to keep hidden.

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action: so dedicated to the cause that he abandoned his baby daughter to keep his cover. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool.

Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...

If I could sum up The Swimmer by Joakim Zander in a single word, it would be ‘intriguing’. For starters, the book was fast paced and dramatic, with mysterious phone calls and bodies piling up, but it wasn’t until three quarters of the way through the book that the reader really knows what the bad guys so desperately want. Then, there was a protagonist who’s name is never revealed, who is nothing if not mysterious. Plus, with several main characters, the book is written as though one is going to be the central character, only for there to be a sudden about-face midway through the novel.

While such a slow reveal of crucial details can be incredibly frustrating in a book, in this instance it worked. Zander’s narrative was so well written that it didn’t matter. In fact, it added to the story. The characters themselves had no idea what they had stumbled into, and rather than the reader having all of the facts while the characters struggled to catch up, I felt like I was uncovering the information with them, and was very invested in the journey.

I also appreciated the ‘real-life’ aspects of the story, that tied into the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the role of government organisations like the CIA. With a portion of the book written from the perspective of a disillusioned career spy, the insights offered into the ‘grey areas’ of espionage were rather fascinating. The unusual setting, in Sweden and Brussels, was an additional bonus – the Swedish archipelagos were a unique and fascinating backdrop.

This book was an interesting look at how the actions of one person can create ripples that span not only distance, but time. One split second can change everything. Zander did a great job of describing the effects of those ripples and tying together the strands of the characters’ lives. I’d definitely recommend this book to lovers of political thrillers.

I received a copy of The Swimmer by Joakim Zander from the lovely Trish at TLC Tours, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

AmazonBook Depository

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