Book Review: The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions #1) by Sunayna Prasad

About the Book:

A world of magic and adventure awaits for 12-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer kidnaps her to an enchanted island, filled with magical creatures and technology, but also danger. It is up to Alyssa to defeat the peril and overcome the warlock.

My Thoughts:

I read and am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour by iRead Book Tours.

I truly love reading middle grade and YA fiction! I love the feeling of adventure and the various scrapes the characters get into. This is what drove me to sign up for the blog tour and start reading this new series by Sunayna Prasad.

The Frights of Fiji is Book 1 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. In this book, we are introduced to Alyssa, a 12-year old who lives with her uncle and cousin ever since her parents passed away. Right from the beginning we are introduced to the existence of magic as Alyssa meets Simon, a talking bust and then discovers a plot that involves kidnapping her. Initially it felt weird as Alyssa tries to convince her uncle of the existence of magic. As the story progresses, we are introduced to a world of magic and magical technology, chronicled along the lines of what we have and use in general. We are introduced to various characters and the evil warlock who is plotting to capture Alyssa.

The writing is amateurish and abrupt in sections, jumping from one thought to another. The characters are not well developed and I was not able to connect with any of them, though I did like Simon a little. I also found the level of explanation into the technology used to be unnecessary and somewhat repetitive. All this made for a difficult read.

However, there are elements to the plot that have potential and make for an interesting story. There is travel to a new place, magical locations and rules that are not known to normal people and so on. I like how Alyssa and her friends work together to foil the plan of the warlock and find a solution to their predicament. Overall, this would be a one time read at best, but I am definitely going to read on to see what happens!

Book Review: His Hidden Wife by Wendy Clarke

About the Book:

The first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house…

If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife.

You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck.

When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all.

And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time?

Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.

A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.

My Thoughts:

His Hidden Wife is the story of Stephen but is told from two different points of view; that of Maya, his 18 year old and Theresa, his colleague at work. The story centers around the mystery surrounding the death of Maya’s mother. Maya doesn’t remember much with respect to the incident and most people in the village do not talk about it anymore.

The story starts of rather slow, introducing us to the characters and trying to establish some context. I found it a little hard to remain engaged with the book and characters until the second half when the pace picked up. I enjoyed the mysterious nature of the plot and the father/daughter relationship. Stephen is indeed an enigma and I could not understand him until the end. Maya is a confused teenager who is trying to figure out the truth. When her father suddenly reveals that he has met someone new and brings Amy home, seeing her reminds Maya of her mother and brings buried memories to the surface.

Theresa’s story is a different one and honestly I could not understand her role in the book until midway when her friendship with Stephen is explained. We also get a glimpse into her life and family. I was not sure where all this fit into the story , but it helped to give some insight into her character. As Maya struggles to sort out her memories, we reach a point in the story where a lot is revealed and the twist in the end is one noone will see coming! Everyone has secrets and noone wants to reveal them! This was handled well and I like how the author brought out each persons role in the story.

This is the first time I cannot decide how I feel about the book. I cannot also connect the story with the title and synopsis of the book. It feels different and out of place to me. However, I would still recommend this book as it has a good plot, it is well-written and is great for those who enjoy a slow burn mystery. The plot is built up until it explodes in the end with unexpected twists and turns!

Book Review: Going Greek by Sue Roberts

About the Book:

Sun, sea and a sizzling romance… the perfect holiday, right? Wrong.

After a work party gone disastrously wrong, Samantha suddenly finds herself jobless and jilted. So when her sister invites Sam to stay at her little whitewashed farmhouse on a Greek island, Sam leaps at the chance to escape. Before long, she’s trundling up the cobbled driveway, almost colliding with sexy neighbour Spyros.

It isn’t all sunshine and smiles though. For every afternoon spent lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, there is a morning spent adjusting to life with boisterous six-year-old nieces. When Spyros invites Sam to explore the island with him she’s tempted, but with his carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude, he couldn’t be more different to Sam with her five-year plans and high-maintenance hair. One drink, as friends, couldn’t hurt though? Over glasses of fruity Greek wine and honey-sweet baklava, can he – and the other charming locals – help city girl Sam to appreciate the simple pleasures the Greek life has to offer?

Just as Sam is considering ditching her designer gear for good though, she runs in to an old flame from home, and suddenly her London life comes hurtling back. Can her smooth-talking ex convince Sam to return to the concrete jungle, or will the lessons she’s learned from her Greek escape persuade her to stay?

A fun, fabulous and completely laugh-out-loud summer read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

My Thoughts:

Going Greek (the new title of the book) is a totally apt name for this book. The story follows Sam as she visits her sister and family in Greece while trying to take some time off due to a scandal. Being a prominent TV presenter, everything she does and says brings her under public scrutiny. We follows as Sam spends time with her family, explores a part of Greece and sets out on a path towards love. The characters are wonderful and the highlight of this book are definitely Sam’s nieces! They steal the spotlight with their innocent yet naughty ways! They are an absolute delight!

The author does a wonderful job in bringing the place to life, giving the reader a glimpse into the beauty and tranquility of the place. In addition, we are exposed to some of the culture and food which is a wonderful experience for a reader. With an ex-boyfriend and a potential new boyfriend thrown into the mix, be prepared for a light hearted drama filled ride!

This is a perfect summer read that will help the reader to escape to an exotic place. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and finished the book in one sitting. A huge thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book!

Book Review: The Girl I Used to Be by Heidi Hostetter

Synopsis:

In her years of acting the perfect wife to Marc, Jill had built walls around herself so high that nobody could reach her. Now she has no money, nowhere to live and a future as uncertain as it was the day Marc first asked her—the shy, trusting new assistant—to lunch. Jill hadn’t known then what sort of man he really was…

When Jill Goodman’s picture-perfect marriage implodes, she’s heartbroken. Still reeling from the shock, the only thing she receives in the hasty divorce settlement is the deed to her husband’s sprawling beach house on the New Jersey shore. Overpriced, with a dark history and a crippling mortgage far outside her means to pay—the house is a symbol of everything Jill’s lost. She hates the sight of it, but knows she must face it if she’s to move on.

With no other choice, Jill travels to Dewberry Beach intending to sell the house quickly—but the task is not as easy as she expects. Still, she can’t help but be charmed by the little town’s leafy streets, sweetly old-fashioned ways and even the unexpected attentions of a handsome local with dark eyes and a teasing smile. For the first time, she can see a path back to the girl she was before she met her husband…

Then Jill dives deeper into the house’s dark past and Marc’s part in it, and she stumbles across a terrible secret that changes everything. Torn between the right choice and the easy one, Jill realizes the key lies with her ex-husband. But he would do anything to keep the truth from coming to light…

An emotionally gripping read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse, Elin Hilderbrand and Diane Chamberlain.

Purchase links:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3aWKrUe 

Apple: http://apple.co/2NbAdqV 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ZjYuy1 

Google: http://bit.ly/3b9TSjx

Author bio:

Heidi Hostetter is a proud Jersey Girl, born and raised. Growing up, she spent summers at her grandparents’ house on the shore, in a town much like the one she writes about in her novels, and it was idyllic. The New Jersey shore has a culture all its own, where every magical thing can be found: sparklers on the beach, fireflies at night, and whole days swimming in the ocean. 

She went to college in South Carolina and found inspiration for her Lowcountry Novels. After graduation, she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she developed an appreciate the rain. Trips to the Oregon coast inspired her award-winning Inlet Beach novels. She and her family have recently moved back across the country, to the DC-area, where history is everywhere. They live in a one-hundred-year-old house that’s definitely haunted and feels like inspiration for a really good story.

When she’s not writing, you can probably find her digging in her garden or poking around old houses for inspiration. She loves the beach, a good podcast, and is always up for a trip to a bookstore, no matter how far away.

Heidi is currently at work on her new novel. She shares office space with a labradoodle named Emmett who keeps are careful watch for errant squirrels foolish enough to wander into his yard. She loves to hear from readers and answers all her own mail. You can find her here:

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHeidiHostetter/

Facebook Reading Group: facebook.com/groups/636728933179573

Goodreads: Goodreads.com/HeidiHostetter

Instagram @LoveTheShore_

Twitter: @HeidiHostetter

Website: HeidiHostetter.com

My Thoughts:

This review is a part of the Book Release Blog Tour by Bookouture.

The Girl I Used to be is the first book by the author that I have read and I must admit that I am absolutely blown away! At first while reading the book, the first few chapters made me form certain assumptions about how the story would progress. When we reach midway through the book, the author throws out everything with a few twists forcing the reader to rethink their assumptions! This was amazing!

The story follows Jill who we think is happily married to Marc, almost twenty years her senior. She changed her life, her style and everything for him until one day when everything shatters. From there on, we see the strength and resolve Jill has as she deals with a divorce and mortgage on a house she demanded for in a calculated move. However, going to Dewberry Beach is perhaps the best thing she does. With the intention to sell the house as soon as possible, she immerses herself in the town and falls in love with it. Once she hears what people think of the house and she realizes what Marc did to obtain the land, she sets out to try and make things right. In addition, she gets a chance to explore her passion for photography.

This is a story of rebuilding and of finding oneself. It is a story of strength and determination as well as community who come together. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the characters and their lives which the author has brought out very well. The description of the beach and it’s view from the house, the lives of people there is amazing and will make the reader want to visit the place!

This is a wonderful summer beach read that can be finished in one sitting. It is an emotional rollercoaster with some kind of a happy ending that will ensure the reader falls in love with the book and the places!

Book Review: Legal Crime by Samiksha Bhattacharjee

About the Book:

Written by a thirteen-year-old author, this exciting and captivating page-turner transports you into the fascinating story of sixteen-year-old aspiring singer Fiona Watson who runs away from her family, oblivious to the dangers outside her shielded comfort zone. As she journeys through her new world, leaving her past behind and determined to find a new identity, she uncovers surprising secrets buried deep within her long ago…

How do her new friends link to her past? What secrets are they hiding behind their misleading smiles? How much of herself has she really left behind? And how will she cope when she realises that she has made a huge mistake… one that could ruin her forever?

My Thoughts:

Legal Crime is a YA Fiction debut novel written by 13 year old Samiksha Bhattacharjee. For this, I have to commend her and say how proud I am of the book and her efforts to write it. As you read, you will find out the meaning behind the title as the book progresses!

The story follows Fiona, a sixteen year old teenager who runs away from home and tries to make it on her own. The first step in her plan is to disguise herself and then find shelter. The story is written in sections, as Fiona changes her identity and tries to blend in, hiding from her parents and the police. The author tries to highlight the different phases of her journey in different sections, showing us how she handles the different hurdles she encounters.

We meet many new people, many old ones from Fiona’s childhood whom she has forgotten about, and many who want her out of the way. She soon realizes that being on your own is more difficult than it looks. Life is not so glamorous. With the help of her friends, she also becomes a YouTube singing sensation and gets to perform on stage with a famous singer. Amongst all this, we see a girl who is dealing with peer pressure, trying to live up to an image and expectations that make her change who she is. She finally learns to respect the bonds of family, friendship and to trust in the people around her.

Now let us take a look at the plot. It is strong enough to carry forward through the book. However, there are some minor gaps that make it a little hard to place the events and people. The characters are well thought out, but once again, we miss some of their background and the development that leads to where they are. Also, there are some jumps back and forth in time which take a little getting used to.

However, all this does not take away from the fact that Samiksha has done a great job. It is not easy to write a story and definitely not so easy to handle as many characters as she has. The writing feels personal and more relatable considering that the entire story is written like diary entries. Though the writing is a little amateurish, I think Samiksha has amazing potential. The concepts she has chosen to handle in this book are pertinent and take a lot of effort to write about. Samiksha has managed to handle all of this delicately and in a very mature way which is amazing for a thirteen year old! Way to go!

Book Review – 7 SIMPLE RULES: How to live peacefully despite everything else by Sam Sadar

About the Book:

GET A GRIP ON YOUR LIFE BY FOLLOWING 7 SIMPLE RULES

What if you had the power to stay calm and peaceful even in the midst of emotional storms? What if you could stop worrying and build a new life where you are the master of your mind?

After years of study on concepts of spirituality, and closely observing and examining the psychology of the mind, Sam Sadar shares remarkable insights into the inner workings of our minds. By interviewing people like you and me–the real common folks, and through their life stories, Sam answers the question: how do I lead a calm, peaceful, happy life every day, despite all my problems?

In this book, you’ll learn:

1. The formula to think productively and reduce stress

2. The AAA principle to navigate through your problems

3. How to live more fully each day

4. What smart people do to make more money

5. A simple secret to overcome your mental struggles and anxieties

6. How to remove the roadblocks to your potential and success

7. A 3-point strategy for financial security

Read this book now to earn yourself a life of peace, power and potential!

My Thoughts:

I would like to thank Saumita Banerjee, founder of LetsAuthor, for reaching out to me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Normally I do not read a lot of non-fiction, but the premise of this book had me intrigued and seemed quite relevant in today’s context of the worldwide pandemic.

In a nutshell, I really like how this book has come together. It is relevant and brings out the reality of how the pandemic has affected our day to day lives. Through this book, the author seeks to bring some lessons derived from the different experiences that could help us handle the situation better on a personal front. The introduction of the book deserves special mention, being quite matter of fact, apt and well written.

This book summarizes the last year, mixing both general facts and people’s experiences to weave together a narrative and derive lessons to be learnt. I think this entire book is relatable to almost everyone in India and perhaps even the world! This book comes at a time when we are all going through so much and have dealt with one year of staying home and are looking at more of the same! With everything that has changed around us, our lives as we knew it has changed and I think that this book and it’s rules would be helpful for many people who open up to the idea of it.

The book is not preaching to us and does not compel anyone with the rules defined. It is more of a suggestion to live better and approach life in a way that we can deal with the current situation and any situation in general better!

I do recommend this book to all. Look out for it’s release on 12th May 2021!

Book Review: Cuban Heel by Leopold Borstinski

Book Blurb:

Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.

If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.

The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.

About Leopold Borstinski:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski @borstinski

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski/

Website: https://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/borstinski/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2PLrtt2

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3dkwzEp

Leopold Borstinski’s website: https://www.leopoldborstinski.com/books/cuban-heel/

Publishing Information:

Published by Sobriety Press on 30th April 2021

My Thoughts:

This is the fifth book in the Alex Cohen series. Having read only the first one, I was a little skeptical to read this one. However, I am very happy that I enjoyed this book just as much. Even though there were some events that I missed, the overall story made sense and was easy to follow.

The story follows Alex Cohen as he sets out to help his long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky set up an entertainment industry in Havana through Casinos. The story centers on the unrest in Cuba around the time of the pre-revolution. The story was an eye opener and written in the authors signature fast-paced style. The atmosphere is rife with politics, corruption, money-making plans and Alex’s attempt to keep his sons out of the illegitimate part of his dealings.

The author has done a great job in portraying the various relationships and in building the characters to where they are in this current book. It was wonderful to see how Alex has grown and evolved in spite of his ruthlessness. There are so many layers to the characters and the historical significance of the events are enough to keep the readers hooked until the very end!

I definitely recommend this series by Leopold Borstinski and am sure that fans of historical fiction, crime fiction and and the mafia will devour these books!

Note: Read and reviewed this book as part of the Book Tour organized by damppebbles blog tours

Book Review: Twinfluence by Grace Costello

About the Book:

Twinfluence

One last twin swap. What could go wrong?

Twenty-six-year-old Dani’s identical twin sister calls her out of the blue with a colossal problem. Sophie needs to jet off to Mexico to save her friend from a botched tummy tuck but her boss won’t let her take any PTO. Dani, eager to repair their strained relationship, leaves her glamorous LA life behind as a top social media influencer to save the day. Dani’s dang good at pretending to be her sister, but good enough to teach high school kids in rural Oklahoma?

When Sophie gets stuck in Mexico for an entire month, Dani not only has to teach Economics and Life Skills, but she has to direct the school musical. And that boss Sophie hates so much? Yeah, it turns out Principal Beck is entirely too good-looking and single for Dani to ignore.

Rushed high school musicals, fiery school board politics, and cozying up to Sophie’s boss, definitely weren’t on her sister’s pre-approved syllabus, but Dani never was one for sticking to the plan.

From USA Today Bestseller of YA Fantasy Nina Walker and YA Contemporary Romance Bestseller M.F. Lorson, comes a brand new Romantic Comedy pen name––Grace Costello. This dynamic duo combines laugh-out-loud comedy with emotional feel-good romance that will keep you flying through the pages.

My Thoughts:

This book is written together by Nina Walker and M.F. Lorson. This is a feel good romance that can be read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly.

Think of the movie The Parent Trap, and then dive into this story. What sets this story apart are it’s twists. Twins Dani and Sophie have drifted apart but when Sophie asks for one last twin swap, Dani thinks of this as a way to mend bridges. Sophie is a teacher in a high school while Dani is a social media influencer. As Dani steps into her sister’s shoes, she finds herself out of depth and taking decisions that might cause problems for Sophie later on. Honestly, what can go wrong when you suddenly take over another person’s life (without knowing the current situation) and start to work on it. This is a recipe for disaster that may be good or bad in the end (I hope! I cannot reveal this)

As the story develops, there is a budding romance, sibling rivalry and bonds to be mended, and finally, kids to be taught. There are misunderstandings, a musical, teenagers and finally sisters who really need to talk to one another. This last part is the most important and acts as the guiding force in changing Dani’s direction in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and even found some parts of it to be quite funny. This is a light and pleasant read that will ensure that the readers have a great time connecting with these delightful characters and learning a lesson or two along the way! This is indeed a must read!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 07/04/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

My current reads are more focused on feel good romances. I am taking a small break from reading serious and emotionally heavy books!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Little Orchard on the Lane by Tilly Tennant

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. I am hoping to get into some historical fiction as well as mythological fiction next!

——————————————————————————————————————

Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: The Little Orchard on the Lane by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

Feel the sun on your face on a Somerset terrace overlooking golden fields and wild meadowland, and watch as romance beckons and long-hidden secrets are revealed…

When twenty-seven-year-old Posy arrives at picture-perfect Oleander House in the Somerset village of Astercombe, she is enchanted. Adopted when she was just a baby, Posy is excited to re-connect with her birth family and help out on the family cider farm with its old stone walls and bees buzzing in the hedgerows.

There’s just one tiny problem – her new next-door neighbour, haughty, handsome vineyard-owner Lachlan. Lachlan has taken an instant dislike to Posy, and after a furious argument when she ventures on his land, she’s pretty certain there’s not a heart of gold beneath his frosty exterior.

Yet as she falls in love with the flower-filled hedgerows and apple-green fields of her new life, she discovers more about her grumpy neighbour. Even though he acts like the world is out to get him, she can’t ignore the sad expression in his dark eyes.

And when Posy discovers the heartbreaking secret that is tearing Lachlan apart, she understands why he has shut the door on the world and vows to help him, as well as the vineyard, which has fallen on hard times. Yet just as Lachlan lets Posy in, a terrible night threatens to destroy everything she has begun to care about and puts someone she loves at risk. Will her dream life in the country come at an awful price?

If you love Nicola May, Debbie Macomber and Milly Johnson, then you will adore The Little Orchard on the Lane. An enchanting summer romance about new beginnings, second chances and trusting your heart.

My Thoughts:

The Little Orchard on the Lane is a heart-warming story of finding oneself, family and love. This is a feel-good book that ensures the reader will experience every single emotion along with the characters. The story introduces us to Posy, a well mannered girl who has everything she could ever hope for. She has wonderful parents, a great friend and a job that she enjoys for the moment. When she suddenly finds out that she has two uncles who live in Somerset and own a farm, her world as she knows it is turned upside down.

Posy sets out to meet them along with her adoptive mother who supports her throughout this. What ensues is an amazing journey for everyone. I loved how Posy handles her meeting with her relatives and then forms bonds with each one of them. Her mother is wonderful and I adored her character. The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the plot line, giving us a glimpse into everyone’s thought process, fears and then the love that develops only with family even if you’ve known them for a short time only.

One of my favorite characters apart from Posy is Asa, her fun loving uncle who is dealing with his own demons. Brought together, this uncle-niece duo is unstoppable and share an enviable bond. Posy also starts to form feelings for Lachlan, who owns the neighboring vineyard and who is not very amenable to company. As Posy works to break down barriers not just with her family but with Lachlan, we are treated to a wonderful story filled with so much love and togetherness. I adored this story and enjoyed it so much! This is a pleasant read and is perfect for a summer getaway!