Tag Archive | New Release

The Man Who Loved Islands by David F. Ross (Orenda Books)

The Last Days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespa’s have been two of my favourite books of the last two years. I have been looking forward to reading the final book in the Disco Days trilogy, The Man Who Loved Islands, whilst feeling a bit sad that this is the last one. However, I knew that it would be a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series.

Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller, once best friends, now barely acquaintances, have slowly come to realise that while they have followed their passions, now middle-aged, life has left them behind and they are depressed at the thought that their best years are behind them with nothing to look forward to but loneliness and eventual death. Having both reached an impasse in their respective lives, with health problems looming over them and career satisfaction a thing of the past, they are forced to re-assess where it all went wrong and to try to make things right. They need to find a common purpose, and using contacts from their past lives, including the mad, but hilariously funny, Max Mojo, former manager of the Miraculous Vespas, Bobby and Joey embark on a challenge of a lifetime, to try and right some wrongs and to secure a future for them both.

The Man Who Loved Islands, like the first two books, is a political and social commentary using the predominantly working class characters to highlight what it is like to make your own destiny in the face of social adversity. Ross discusses crippling mental illness, overwhelming loneliness, ambition and the ties of family in good times and bad, with a remarkable honesty. What Ross does so beautifully is that he creates a narrative with the perfect balance of poignancy and hilarity that keeps the reader invested in his characters and they will laugh and cry with each emotionally charged chapter.

The soundtrack to each novel is integral to the action on the page and in The Man Who Loved Islands, this is no different. Ross threads classic songs throughout the narrative to add another layer to the story. Much like a film creates an emotional connection by its soundtrack, so too does the song choices in Ross’s novels. Of course, Bobby is a DJ, and Max Mojo is a band manager, so music is an important aspect of the plot anyway, but the choice of songs is key, provoking a memory in the reader or placing the action at a particular time or location, and as much as the reader is mentally reading the novel in a Scottish accent (that might just be me), they are also mentally listening to the soundtrack as they read, which undoubtedly enhances the reading experience.

Ross also takes advantage of the locations in which his novels are set. Most notably in The Man Who Loved Islands, is the use of the Ailsa Craig as the location of Bobby and Joey’s challenge. Ailsa Craig reflects a monument that stands the test of time despite being battered by the elements and the wildlife, perhaps in the same way that the friendships within the trilogy survive despite taking a severe beating over the years. Bobby and Joey have had a turbulent relationship since they parted ways in their late teens but they remain fiercely loyal to each other, often despite themselves. Even Max Mojo, who looks after himself first, also seems to look after those who have helped him over the years, even if it is not always intentional.

The Man Who Loved Islands is a story about what happens when you have fought for your dreams against all odds, but have squandered friendships along the way, finding yourself lonely, regretful and unhappy. All the characters are perched on a knife-edge and their fortunes could go either way with every decision that they make, but ultimately, they have reached middle age and something is missing. Ross has finished off this trilogy in tremendous fashion. As we have come to expect from Ross, the plot lines have been intricately woven, and have been tied up beautifully in this last novel in the trilogy. Among the humour and the sadness, Ross injects hope into his novels and even when there seems to be no way back, the spirit of the characters in adversity as they rally each other in their own inimitable way, encourages the reader to see that everyone has the opportunity to change their trajectory.

Looking at the trilogy as a whole, this is a fantastic politically, socially and musically influenced set of novels about growing up and out of Ayrshire in the 80’s and revisiting the characters in the present day to see how they did. I love a book that can make me laugh out loud in one chapter and make me an emotional wreck in the next and every single book in this trilogy has had this effect on me. I have enjoyed every single page of these novels, from the nostalgia filled first book to the reality check third novel and I’m sorry that it is all over. I’m very much looking forward to reading future David F Ross novels, but I will be undoubtedly be revisiting this trilogy in the future as these novels have become firm favourites.

Man Who Loves Islands

The Before By Isabelle Connors

   
 
**RELEASE DAY BLITZ**
The Before – Undying Love #0.5
by Isabelle Connors
Blurb:
Skylar Montgomery is a sophomore at Adelaide High School. Captain of the soccer team, and one of the most popular boys in school. He’s a womanizer who has no intention of having a relationship with any of the girls in school. His focus is on school, soccer and friends, girls flock at him, but he only has one intention.

You’ve read about his love for Ari, now you’ll read how he was BEFORE Ari.

Excerpt:
“I don’t think there is any girl on earth who can make me lose all common sense.”

With a chuckle she says, “Oh you young fool. When that day comes I will be here to laugh at you. You are so full of yourself. You can’t fight it. The heart wants what it wants. When love comes it will knock you down before you even realize what’s happening.”

  
The Before buy links:

Amazon: amzn.to/1iLZCmI
Amazon UK: amzn.to/1L5UF4u
The Introduction & The Heartbreak buy links:
Amazon: amzn.to/1iLZCmI
Amazon UK: amzn.to/1L5UF4u
iBooks: apple.co/1KOOAHF
Barnes&Nobles: bit.ly/1MpRh1J
Kobo: bit.ly/1MpRyBC

  

About the Author:

My name is Isabelle Connors. I am an only child who has grown from an avid reader into an avid writer! I have been married now for six wonderful years. I have no kids as yet. I just recently published the first two books in the “Undying Love” series called the “The Introduction” and “The Heartbreak”. I am so excited about this journey that I am on (nervous more so) because it gives me a chance to bare my soul to the world. These characters have lived in my head for a long time and I think it’s time you guys got a chance to meet them. I hope you fall in love with these individuals. I hope you cry and laugh with them, and I hope you get the life lessons with them.

Connect With Izzy:
Facebook: http://bitly.com/1CtIC7N
Goodreads: http://bitly.com/1Lt0vuH
Twitter: @izzyconnors1
Book Gorilla Profile: http://bit.ly/1Ol5xcj
Instagram: izzyconnors1

   
 

Pure

Andrew Miller Pure 40 days in the top 100 Pure (301) Download: £0.99

Commitment: My Autobiography

Didier Drogba Release Date: 19 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £9.50 15 used & new from £9.50

Grandpa's Great Escape

David Walliams 94 days in the top 100 Grandpa's Great Escape (227) Buy new: £12.99 £5.00 41 used & new from £3.51

Apricot Kisses

Claudia Winter , Maria Poglitsch Bauer Apricot Kisses (25) Download: £3.99

DEAD WRONG a gripping detective thriller full of suspense

HELEN H. DURRANT DEAD WRONG a gripping detective thriller full of suspense 84 days in the top 100 DEAD WRONG a gripping detective thriller full of suspense (143) Download: £0.99

The Lady in the Van

Alan Bennett The Lady in the Van 15 days in the top 100 The Lady in the Van (146) Download: £1.79

STAR WARS Battlefront Collector's Edition Guide

Prima Games Release Date: 19 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £19.99 £13.59 30 used & new from £9.42

DEAD SILENT a gripping detective thriller full of suspense

HELEN H. DURRANT DEAD SILENT a gripping detective thriller full of suspense 32 days in the top 100 DEAD SILENT a gripping detective thriller full of suspense (86) Download: £0.99

The Stranger

Harlan Coben The Stranger 52 days in the top 100 The Stranger (228) Download: £1.99

Cursed by Fire & Kissed by Fire (Books 1 & 2 in the Blood and Magic Series) by Danielle Annett

I recently signed up to the Blog Tour for the release of Kissed by Fire by Danielle Annett. However, I needed to read Cursed by Fire first. It was my intention to read each book and review them separately, but I was so intrigued by the first book, I had to read Kissed by Fire (a good sign for any reviewer) to see where Annett was going to take the tale, hence, this is a dual book review!

In Cursed by Fire, the reader is introduced to Aria Naveed, a mercenary and psyker – meaning she has pyrokinetic powers, bursting into flame, often at will, but sometimes it is out of her control, particularly when she is stressed. The opening to the book is quite a brutal one as Aria and her boss, Mike, find the body of a little boy, Daniel,  who they have been employed to find, murdered seemingly by a vampire. However, as it transpires that the Daniel was a shifter, someone who can transform into an animal, this act is seen as a potential spark to a war between the vampires and the shifters. In order to avoid a battle between the two groups, Aria is hired by the shifters to find out who killed Daniel. Helped by her best friend and shifter, James, Aria investigates Daniel’s murder, uncovering a plot to incite the war, but she is determined to find out who killed the little boy. All the while, Aria is being watched by a handsome stranger, who despite her resistance to him, feels an attraction towards him. However, Inarus is not who he seems and Aria is torn between her attraction for him and her innate defensive response.

Cursed by Fire gives the reader an idea of the hierarchy in this place where paranormals and humans live side by side, not necessarily harmoniously. The characters are intriguing, and the plot has a feel of Veronica Roth’s Divergent about it. Similarly, there are factions, in this case, shifters vs vampires vs humans/Psykers, who have lived alongside each other out of a desire to keep the peace but there are members among each group who wish to take control. Like many first books in a series, this book lays the groundwork for future books, but has plenty of action to draw the reader in.

Kissed by Fire flows a little better than Cursed by Fire, most likely because there are a lot of characters in the first book to get accustomed to and a societal dynamic to get a grasp of. Cursed by Fire ends with a 3rd person narrative in consideration of Declan Valkenaar, the Alpha of the Pacific Northwest Pack of shifters. The reader is given a hint that perhaps Declan feels more for Aria than has been previously displayed. In Kissed by Fire, we find out just how true this is. As Aria takes over at Sanborn Place, the mercenary firm she works for, she is keen to get back to work and takes a job at a farm where a being has been attacking the farmer’s animals. The farmer is convinced it is a creature only know as a myth, but when it turns out that there may be some truth to the myth, Declan’s hand is forced into completing an act that seals Aria’s fate. As Aria comes to terms with this turn of events, along with her mixed feelings for Inarus and the still-unsolved murder of Daniel, the reader is taken on a fast-paced journey.

I like to be able to feel a sense of realism in the books I read, something to relate to, and while this book is jam-packed with vampires, shifters and psykers, the battle of wills between each powering force is something that can be related to the politics of today’s society. The sense of tenuous compromises and living on a knife edge are all valid scenarios that we hear in the news each day. Aria is a great main protagonist, flawed but strong. She reminded me a little of Stephanie Plum, heroine of Janet Evanovich’s “Numbers” novels. These books aren’t remotely comedic like Evanovich’s novels but Aria always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and usually ends up coming off worst.  That said, she is strong, feisty and really likeable.

Annett has written two really good books and I have no doubt that there will be more to come from this series. They are not necessarily books I would have picked up to read, but they were entertaining nonetheless, and I think any issues I have with it are down to personal choice. I’m not completely sure I understand the Declan connection, although perhaps this will be explored in future books. I was a little disappointed that James is not the love interest, but I’m sure Annett has a plan for her characters and I am invested enough to want to know what happens next. Cursed by Fire and Kissed by Fire are action-packed, mystery-filled novels and will appeal to readers who like an adventure.

 

The Before By Isabelle Connors

   
 
**RELEASE DAY BLITZ**
The Before – Undying Love #0.5
by Isabelle Connors
Blurb:
Skylar Montgomery is a sophomore at Adelaide High School. Captain of the soccer team, and one of the most popular boys in school. He’s a womanizer who has no intention of having a relationship with any of the girls in school. His focus is on school, soccer and friends, girls flock at him, but he only has one intention.

You’ve read about his love for Ari, now you’ll read how he was BEFORE Ari.

Excerpt:
“I don’t think there is any girl on earth who can make me lose all common sense.”

With a chuckle she says, “Oh you young fool. When that day comes I will be here to laugh at you. You are so full of yourself. You can’t fight it. The heart wants what it wants. When love comes it will knock you down before you even realize what’s happening.”

  
The Before buy links:

Amazon: amzn.to/1iLZCmI
Amazon UK: amzn.to/1L5UF4u
The Introduction & The Heartbreak buy links:
Amazon: amzn.to/1iLZCmI
Amazon UK: amzn.to/1L5UF4u
iBooks: apple.co/1KOOAHF
Barnes&Nobles: bit.ly/1MpRh1J
Kobo: bit.ly/1MpRyBC

  

About the Author:

My name is Isabelle Connors. I am an only child who has grown from an avid reader into an avid writer! I have been married now for six wonderful years. I have no kids as yet. I just recently published the first two books in the “Undying Love” series called the “The Introduction” and “The Heartbreak”. I am so excited about this journey that I am on (nervous more so) because it gives me a chance to bare my soul to the world. These characters have lived in my head for a long time and I think it’s time you guys got a chance to meet them. I hope you fall in love with these individuals. I hope you cry and laugh with them, and I hope you get the life lessons with them.

Connect With Izzy:
Facebook: http://bitly.com/1CtIC7N
Goodreads: http://bitly.com/1Lt0vuH
Twitter: @izzyconnors1
Book Gorilla Profile: http://bit.ly/1Ol5xcj
Instagram: izzyconnors1

   
 

Harry Potter Colouring Book

Warner Brothers Release Date: 5 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £9.99 £6.99

The Mentor

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli , Aaron Maines The Mentor 1 day in the top 100 The Mentor (2) Download: £3.99

Old School (Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 10)

Jeff Kinney Release Date: 3 Nov. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

The Concealed (The Lakewood Series Book 1)

Sarah Kleck , Michael Osmann , Audrey Deyman The Concealed (The Lakewood Series Book 1) (1) Download: £3.99

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep

Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin , Irina Maununen The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep (474) Release Date: 2 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £7.99 £4.00

Tom Gates 9: Top of the Class (Nearly)

Liz Pichon Release Date: 8 Oct. 2015 Buy new: £10.99 £5.49

Complicate Me (The Good Ol’ Boys Series) by M. Robinson Blog Tour Excerpt and Synopsis

BLOG TOUR
Title: Complicate Me (The Good Ol’ Boys)
Author: Best Selling Author M. ROBINSON
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: September 14th
Cover Design: Rebecca Marie at The Final Wrap

 Segnalibro Review: http://segnalibro.co.uk/complicate-me-the-good-ol-boys-book-one-by-m-robinson/

 

It was complicated, it was
also just the beginning.
A decision.
A simple choice.
There is always that one
moment in life where things could have been different. That one moment where
you could have chosen a path that would lead you down a certain road.
A different life.
It was easier to pretend that
we were still best friends, and that she was my girl and I was her boy.
Pretending was better than
knowing the truth…
I. Ruined. Us.
I had her.
I lost her.
I love her.
All I did was complicate us.
Buy Links:
(Nook Coming Soon)
My brown eyed girl sat on our blankets with her arms wrapped around her knees, hiding her face. The tiny frame that I adored so much shook uncontrollably, only heightening the deepest sobbing that escalated with each passing second. It was such an intimate moment, not to be shared with anyone, especially me. Alex didn’t cry. I watched her bawl for the first time in my life. I had never seen anyone cry like that before, and it shook me to my core, slicing me whole, and making me feel like I was dying. Carving a memory that I would take to my grave.
There was no going back…
No erasing.
No do overs.
No deleting.
What I witnessed tonight would be my purgatory; I would now close my eyes and forever see her falling apart in front of me. Shattering before my very own eyes and I found it hard to breathe.
Hard to move.
My feet were glued to the goddamn floor as she continued to weep, sob, bawl, violently sucking in air that wasn’t available. I accepted it all; each tear that fell from her face becoming pieces of me. Circulating through my veins and blood, it flowed endlessly, a river of her sadness and sorrow and of my broken promises. No beginning or ending to her cries, just an infinite current, flooding the hole
where my heart should be. The shadow of her trembling petite body reflected off
the walls, leaving a trail of regrets in its wake.
Mine.
Hers.
Ours.
Growing up in a small town you overheard a lot of things. People talking, stories told, town gossip. You listened a lot. You learned a lot. Tourists, townies, friends, and especially family all shared wisdom and advice that you think you will never need.
Bunch of bullshit.
They say you have that one moment in life where things could have been different, that one moment that changes the course of your life or the direction you could have taken. That one moment that could forever change you and everything you wanted to be true,
everything you wanted to believe.
One simple decision could
alter your entire future.
My entire world.
I would forever remember this moment for the rest of my life. This is the moment that changed everything. This is the moment where I took another direction, another road that led me to my own demise. My own regrets. I should have walked in there. I should have apologized. I should have begged for her forgiveness. I should have promised that I would never hurt her again. I should have done whatever it took to make her look at me the way she had our entire lives.
But I didn’t…
I did none of those things…
Not one.
Nothing was said between us.
No words.
No actions.
I was a coward and couldn’t do it. I couldn’t see her like that. I couldn’t look into her eyes and know that I had hurt her. That I had disappointed her. That I ruined her love and lost her respect for me.
The boy who promised he would never hurt her.
The boy who swore he would always protect her.
The boy who vowed he would never let anything happen to her.
That same boy was me.
I was the reason she was bawling.
I was the reason she was hurt.
I was the reason she was broken.
She knew the truth. It had finally caught up to me… I shattered her illusion that I was hers. I ruined the one good thing I had in my life. The girl that owned my heart was bleeding out for me in a way that I had never seen before. The house was no longer our safe place.
I had brought my hurricane with me…
I couldn’t risk the possibility of losing her permanently if I walked in there and admitted my truths. She wouldn’t love me anymore, she wouldn’t look at me the same anymore, and she wouldn’t be mine anymore.
My brown eyed girl.
The girl that I had loved all of my life.
The same girl that I would
love for the rest of my life.
Alexandra.
I gave her the only comfort I could in her moment of despair. I turned around and left. I walked down the stairs and got into my truck. I turned the engine on and drove my sorry ass home. I took a shower and never once looked at myself in the mirror. I pretended that nothing changed. That I didn’t cause her pain, and that she didn’t know the truth. That I didn’t see her sobbing and that she wasn’t even bawling to begin with. That we were still just best friends, and that she was
my girl and I was her boy.
My Half-Pint and her Bo.
It was better than knowing…
I ruined us.

 

Best Selling Author M. Robinson loves to read. She favors anything that has angst, romance, triangles, cheating, love, and of course sex! She has been reading since the Babysitters Club and R.L. Stein.
She was born in New Jersey but was raised in Tampa Fl. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, with two years left.
She is married to an amazing man who she loves to pieces. They have two German Shepherd mixes and a Tabby cat.
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Rachel Abbott The Back Road 271 days in the top 100 The Back Road (1762) Download: £0.99

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Complicate Me (The Good Ol’ Boys Book One) by M. Robinson

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As I get more familiar with blogging and writing reviews, I have signed up for a number of blog tours recently and I’ve found that this can lead to a mixed bag of average reads and some that are really enjoyable. Complicate Me by M. Robinson well and truly falls into the latter. I am very pleased to be involved in the promotion of this book because it is an absolutely fantastic love story.

Complicate Me is a bildungsroman of sorts. The story is about Alex and Lucas, along with their best friends “The Good Ol’ Boys”, Jacob, Austin and Dylan. Friends from early childhood, Alex has always been keen to be one of the boys, and with a little friendly teasing along the way, the boys have embraced her as part of their group. Their parents are best friends too, so they continue to have a tight connection with each other throughout their childhood and the boys are fiercely protective of Alex, particularly when it comes to potential boyfriends. The plot of the story takes the reader through their childhood and illuminates the budding romance between Alex and Lucas. However, with their parents and friends discouraging them from being anything more than best friends, they find themselves trying to fight against their feelings for each other.

On the face of it, a book about a group of children growing up may not seem a great adult read. However, this is a beautifully written narrative, for the most part told in hindsight, which gives an adult viewpoint of how they felt about the trials and tribulations of childhood, and later on, adulthood. Robinson’s tactic of having an alternating narrative between Alex and Lucas is a brilliant one. The two perspectives draw the reader and the reader is left in no doubt about the love these two characters feel for each other. From the opening prologue, the tension is palpable and the reader knows that this is an intense relationship built on memories of the past. As the reader is taken back to Alex and Lucas’s childhood, it doesn’t take much convincing that these two characters are meant to be together, even if they are avoiding the inevitable.

Robinson packs in all the usual teenage pressures and obstacles that they would encounter as they grow up, but the benefit of hindsight adds an extra layer of emotion as they reminisce about how they felt at particular times, good and bad. I was invested from the start, desperate to know what had gone in the past of these two characters who seem made for each other in just a few paragraphs of narrative.

This book is one of the best romantic novels I’ve read in a while. The premise is simple yet beautifully executed. The double perspective is what really gives this novel its edge. I engaged with the characters from the first page and I loved the ending. There are enough reasons throughout to think that the obstacles are just too large and too many for Alex and Lucas to overcome, but the moral of this story is clear: true love can overcome any obstacle, no matter how long it takes. I will definitely be reading the rest of The Good Ol’ Boys series.

 

 

The Back Road

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A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III

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Swansong (The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series Book 4)

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