Book Tour: Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

~ Book Tour ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

10th to 30th April

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

Alisha was dreaming about tiny babies crawling all over her when a tinny, buzzing noise filled the room. Struggling awake, she located her phone on the side table and squinted at the display. Vivaan. At this hour? It was close to two in the morning.
Heart pounding, she answered the phone. “Are you okay?”
Silence was her only reply. Checking the phone’s display to see if the call had been cut off, she frowned when she realized he was still on the line.
“Vivaan?”
“I get it now.”
The quiet words had her flopping back against her pillows in relief. He didn’t sound like he was hurt or in pain.
“Get what now?” she asked, staring into the darkness of her room. There was something frighteningly intimate about lying in bed, enveloped in darkness with only his voice on the other end of the phone anchoring her to the moment.
“Everything you said. About the way people think. About the way they behave.” He sounded sad. Alisha wanted to soothe and comfort but didn’t know exactly where this was going. Instead, she waited.
“I want you to know,” he stopped for a minute and then continued, “No, I need you to know that you’re incredible. That you can smile, you can laugh, God, the fact that you can love and live in the face of the incredible assholes who make up huge chunks of our society is beyond incredible.”
A single tear rolled down Alisha’s face as she let his words wash over her. They soothed her in places she hadn’t known were still hurting.
“Are you there, Alisha?” His voice reached out to her again bringing her back to the moment.
“Yes.” She could never let him know it but for him, she would always be there.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“I don’t remember you doing anything that needs apologizing for,” she answered.
“For not taking what you said seriously. About people and society. For dismissing it the way I did.”
His words had pain knifing through her. If he finally understood, he also understood there was no future for them. A sense of loss swept through her at the thought of Vivaan no longer wanting her. It was what she’d wanted, what she’d pushed for and still….it was devastating.
“Alisha,” he whispered her name, recalling her to their conversation. “I’ve never wanted you more.”

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Book Review: Inebriated by Katey Taylor

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Xpresso Book Tours as a part of the Blog tour for this book. Unfortunately I was not able to read and review this book in time for the Blog tour. So read on to know my thoughts!

About the Book:

Inebriated

Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco’s party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.

When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she’s introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.

But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?

Katey Taylor’s heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait’s life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.

My Thoughts:

Review : 3 stars

Note: This story has many incidents that could act as triggers. So be careful while picking it up to read.

Inebriated follows the life of Cait and her best friends as they tackle their summer holidays with partying and romance. The story is a typical one with teenagers trying to have fun and enjoy themselves. It is predictable for the most part, but there are a few unexpected twists. I like the way the author has described and handled the friendship between the girls. It is quite beautiful. It also helped to understand their backgrounds and the reason behind the bonds they had. Their acceptance of each other and the way they looked at the world is well written. The characters are not wholly relatable. It was not easy to empathize with them completely nor to understand some of the reasons behind their actions.

Some parts of the story just seemed abrupt and the entire focus of the story was on partying and drugs. Cait is focused on trying to handle her relationship with Adrien Cross, lead singer of her favorite indie band. While their relationship is intense, it pulls her away from focusing on her friends and their lives. This leads to so many consequences as she tries to navigate a world of sudden and intense love, family ties and breaking bonds. When tragedy strikes, noone is even close to ready for it and the author handles the emotions in this part of the story very well.

An overall intensely emotional read, even though I did not fully enjoy the book, the parts that I did, prompt me to recommend it!

Book Review: The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

About the Book:

The View from Alameda Island

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr delivers a poignant and powerful story about how one woman’s best intentions lead to the worst of situations and how the power of love helps her to heal and ultimately triumph.

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

My Thoughts:

The View from Alameda Island is a simple enough story with a straight-forward and slightly predictable plot but that tugs at the heart-strings and will make the reader stop to think. The story follows the life of Lauren Delaney as she navigates her seemingly perfect life. To the world outside, everything is perfect, but, only she knows how broken she feels inside. However, there is only so much a person can handle and after a point, they just snap. It is common and normal that every human being wants to be happy. So it is normal that Lauren is also looking for the same.

The author does a great job in working on her character sketches and bringing them to life in this book. The story focuses on the concept of self love, and the idea that at some point every person should take decisions that ultimately make them happy. This is the turning point in Lauren’s life when she decides that she wants a divorce and to get away from the darkness that has lurked behind the scenes during her twenty four years of marriage. This decision, though not taken easily, doesn’t sit well with her husband and thus ensues a struggle to get away and move on, in-spite of her husband who tries to win her back and refuses to let go.

The story is well-written and focuses on Lauren’s fight for the happiness that she deserves as she finds the strength to trust and love again! This is definitely worth a read and can be finished in one sitting!

Cover Reveal: The Best Mistake by Cookie O’Gorman

The Best Mistake
Cookie O’Gorman
Publication date: April 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Honor Tierney just wants one night with the playboy.

One hot, steamy, meaningless hookup, and then she’ll happily go back to reading her favorite books, studying to be an accountant and writing for the campus-paper-nobody-reads. Too bad she ends up in the wrong bed, with the wrong brother…who gives her the hottest night of her life.

Archer O’Brien just wants to play ball.

Well that, and for his brothers to stop acting out, so he won’t have to worry 24/7. As the oldest O’Brien and team captain, it’s his duty to make sure they don’t drink too much, party too much, or get in too much trouble. But when she walks into his bedroom—mistaking him for his brother—life throws him a curveball.

She’s determined to guard her heart. He’s not giving up.

And when Honor gets assigned to cover the Wolves baseball team, it’s game on.

This new adult sports romance features one hot (and hilarious) case of mistaken identity and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.

Sometimes, the best mistakes are worth making.

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL and THE UNBELIEVABLE, INCONCEIVABLE, UNFORESEEABLE TRUTH ABOUT ETHAN WILDER are out now! Her next book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad, was released April 25, 2019!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

 

 

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Grand Finale Blitz: NO CHANCE MEETING by Jaye Elliot

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Launch – Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

The core of the story is never to give up because God is always working behind the scenes and can bring people into our lives or change our circumstances right when we most need it. Another big aspect of the book is that things and circumstances don’t define us. Our faith and how we live do.

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post

“An exceptional story of life and love. I love the way the author shows us parts of life of a hero of the military. The things they go through and the pain and suffering it brings to family and friends. . . . I highly recommend this story to everyone who like to read and receive a lift as an extra reward.”

My Publishing Journey

I’ve been writing for a long time. Ever since I was eight, to be exact. I still have the ugly, beat up, green notebook that I wrote my very first little stories in. I had no idea then that I would be a published author. It wasn’t even something I aspired to. I just loved to tell stories, something I inherited from my mom. I might not have even started writing if I hadn’t seen her doing it first. . .

She waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t. Instead, he switched the topic back to her. “What about your parents? What do they do?”

“Well, my dad’s a farmer and my mom was always a stay-at-home mom.” Simple and straightforward. They loved their lives, and she had loved growing up in it. However, her dreams had always been a bit beyond that. Maybe she’d been foolish.

“A country girl, then.”

Unbidden, a tiny laugh escaped Alex. “Yes, pretty much. A country girl with big dreams.”

“What an outstanding and feel-good-in-the-end book! Two characters, both living a life other than what they had planned, both struggling emotionally. . . . I adored their love story and how they were able to help each other and the faith that finds it’s way back into their hearts. . . . I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Christian Contemporary Romance lovers!”

Hallie Reads – Guest Post


No Chance Meeting Character Casting

It’s always great for an author when they can have someone “cast” as their character. It really helps bring the character to life in our minds. Here are a few of my celebrity casting choices for the characters in No Chance Meeting. . .

Had Alex received the text two weeks ago, she would have ignored it for a few days, hoping Mindy just thought she was busy and forgot to call. She tapped on Mindy’s name to bring up her contact information and stared at the call button. She would have to be honest about how she had been lately. Mindy would know just by her voice if she tried to conceal her struggles. Did she really want to delve into it? However, today had become about making things right. She hit call. The phone rang twice before Mindy’s voice filled her ear.

“Alex! I’m so glad you called!”

“Hey, Mindy,” she said through a smile.

“It’s so good to hear your voice.”

“Yours too.” Really, her friend’s bubbly enthusiasm was like a balm. She should never have avoided calling.

The Power of Words – Review

No Chance Meeting by Jaye Elliot is a character-driven romance with realistically flawed characters and strong spiritual themes. I’m a firm believer in the way God is always working behind the scenes, leaving nothing to chance, so the title is especially meaningful. It’s refreshing to see a Christian fiction book where God is actually the main character.”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Guest Post


How I am Like/Not Like My Character

Writers always leave pieces of themselves within a story. This can be especially true in regards to their main character. Here are 5 ways my main female character, Alex, and I are alike and then 5 ways we are not alike. . .

Splashes of Joy – Excerpt


“Alex,” she said cheerfully when she looked up. Her gaze drifted to Riley and then back to Alex, sparkling with curiosity.

Alex paused with Riley at her side. “This is Riley Conrad. We work together and . . . he’s my boyfriend. He’s taking me out to dinner tonight.” She shared a quick smile with Riley.

Dia looked positively delighted. This would certainly dominate tonight’s conversation with her friends.

janicesbookreviews – Review

“I loved Alex’s and Riley’s story. . . . This is a new author for me. I enjoyed her writing. I loved how Alex and Riley were so supportive of each other. I plan on reading more by the author.”

Jorie Loves A Story – Interview

Chance meetings, meet-cutes and serendipitous encounters are some of my favourites within Romance & Sweet Romance – how did you want readers to react to the one you’ve given Riley & Alex? What did you love about setting the scene itself and giving a first look at how your life’s trajectory can alter itself in one singular moment?

Elliot responds: The first meeting between Alex and Riley isn’t the cute, swoon-worthy or funny meeting that a lot of romance novels have. Alex is at the lowest point in her life. It’s absurd to her that she, a girl who’s never been on a date in all her near-thirty years, would meet someone right then. But I love it because it shows that God is working even when we think our lives have hit a dead end. He can bring people and things into our lives right when we need them most, even if, in our human minds, the timing seems ridiculous. The whole theme of the book is that things don’t happen by chance. They are part of God’s plan.

JeanBookNerd – Guest Post

TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT NO CHANCE MEETING

1. I wrote No Chance Meeting for NaNoWriMo 2016. It was the first time I ever participated in NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t sure I ever would and really didn’t think I’d actually make it to 50,000 words. I ended up completing the month with over 60,000. . .

She moved toward the kitchen counter. “Do you want coffee?”

“Always.” With a cheeky grin, Mindy slid onto one of the barstools on the opposite side of the counter.

Alex filled the coffeemaker with the coffee Riley had brought her after his appointment. While waiting for it to brew, she peeked over at Mindy, who was checking her phone.

“He kissed me the other night.”

Mindy’s eyes shot up, and her phone rattled on the counter. Her mouth fell open with a squeal. It was a good thing Alex had given her the news now instead of after handing over the coffee or her friend might have choked in her giddiness.

Heidi Reads… – Spotlight
Tell Tale Book Reviews – Guest Post


Top 10 Romantic Pairings

​I’m a hopeless romantic, so I tend to do a lot of shipping fictional characters. Here is a look at my top 10 in no particular order. Only one pairing is actually from a book. I’m a very visual person, so I tend to do more shipping of characters from movies and TV than I do for books. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but these are the ones that jumped to mind immediately. . .

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

Riley turned to Alex with a smile and held out his arm, drawing her closer. “Granddad, this is my girlfriend, Alex Jennings. Alex, my grandfather, Joseph Preston.”

His smile grew even brighter, if that was possible, and he held out his hand for Alex to shake. Though his skin was wrinkled, his grip was strong.

“I’m very pleased to meet you, Alex. It’s about time Riley found himself a good woman.”

It was impossible not to grin at his enthusiasm. “I’m very pleased to meet you as well, Mr. Preston.”

Remembrancy – Review

“Elliott tackles the difficult topic of depression with grace and gentleness, never glossing over the internal battle that Alex wages on her emotions. The faith element of the book is also authentic to the story. I’ll be watching for more from this author.”

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post…

No Chance Meeting
(No Chance Love #1)
By Jaye Elliot
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 393 Pages
February 11th 2020 by Living Sword Publishing

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?

(Affiliate link included.)

About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.
Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a signed copy of No Chance Meeting, a coffee mug, a bag of chocolates, and a hand painted watercolor bookmark (US only)
Ends March 4, 2020

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Book Review: Before You Go by Kelly Heard

About the Book:

Before You Go

The bond between a mother and daughter is meant to be unbreakable. What happens when it shatters?

Western Virginia, 1979. Dell Shaw knows the relationship between a mother and daughter should be something warm, soft and safe. But her relationship with her former beauty queen mother, Anita, has never been like that. And then one day, Anita packs up and leaves home, abandoning Dell to look after her alcoholic father and grow up alone.

When Dell meets handsome Mason, who has his own scars, she begins to think she can build a new, happy family with him. A year later, she’s shocked to find herself heartbroken and alone with a new-born baby girl and only her mother to turn to. When Anita refuses help and instead arranges for the local church to take the baby away, Dell knows she won’t ever speak to her mother again.

But all that changes on the day Dell discovers her daughter is missing.

Anita knows where the child might be. There’s only one problem—Anita is in a coma, fighting for her life. As Dell divides her time between her mother’s bedside and searching for her daughter, she finds herself discovering new things about her past that make her wonder if she can forgive her mother after all. But will she be able to reconcile with her mother and find her daughter before time runs out?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching debut about the endurance of love, the power of forgiveness, and finding beauty in the world around us. Your must-read book of 2019. Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah and Kerry Lonsdale.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of the book was quite intriguing and this promoted me to pick it up. The story follows Dell, a fortune teller as she navigates her way through her present while trying to run from her past. Dell has moved away from Blyth, away from family and friends and away from her new born baby.

The author introduces us to a variety of characters as the story progresses. However, as the plot develops, there is little to no development on the fact that Dell is a fortune teller. This just seems to be a minor reference which exists until Dell goes back to Blyth. Dell races against time to try to find her daughter and spend time with her mother who is now in a coma and may be the only person who knows where her daughter is. The plot itself becomes quite predictable as the story progresses, and even though this story does bring out the importance of forgiveness and love, it becomes difficult to follow after a point. The characters are nice but unremarkable, and not very easy to relate to. The story plows ahead with no major twists or turns and is easy to follow.

The book did not engage me as much as I had hoped, but it is still a decent read! Fans of romance will enjoy this book!

Book Review: Once Upon A [Fallen] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

Once Upon A [Fallen] Time (Stolen Series II)

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colourless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 2 of [STOLEN] SERIES.

My Thoughts:

Samreen Ahsan brings to us a smashing second book in the series. This book follows up where the first one left off, but takes us deeper into the past. In the first book, Myra only had dreams and glimpses of Edward, but in this one, she finally crosses over to the past. The author takes us on a journey through Edwards world as Myra tries to navigate her way. Edward tries to keep her hidden from the king, but it is not so easy. When the king finds out about her, it is her wit and knowledge of this past time that keeps her going.

The author brings to us a wonderful tale of love and mystery, weaving the past with the present. In the present, Myra’s family and friends are missing her and no-one knows where she is except Steve. Even though he tries to explain it, no-one believes the ‘story’ he tells.

In the past, Edward is fascinated by Myra and as she passes some time there, changes start to occur. Some color starts to appear in his otherwise dark life. The author once again handles the characters very well and weaves an intriguing plot!

A must read for all romance lovers out there and of course for fans of the author!

Book Review: P.S. from Paris by Mark Levy

About the Book:

P.S. from Paris (UK edition)

They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book mostly due to the connection to Paris. It is a city that I have come to love and I wanted to see how much of it I could connect with through the book.

The story follows Mia, an actress from UK as she gets away from the film industry, her husband and everything that is a part of her reel life. She needs a break and to re-assess what she wants from life. She ends up in Paris, at the doorstep of her best friend Daisy.

The reader is also introduced to Paul, an architect turned writer, who moves from the US to Paris to get away. He does this just after his first book was published as he doesn’t know how to deal with the fame. We also meet his best friend and the best friend’s wife, who are wonderful additions to the character ensemble.

The author takes us on a pleasant journey through the streets of Paris, from Montmartre, the artists square to the view from the top of the Opera. The locations are well described that for people who have been to Paris, it is a trip down memory lane, and for those who have not, it will spark the flame of discovery and the urge to visit this beautiful city.

The book deals with some important issues like self discovery and growth, trust and beyond all that love. Mia learns to open herself up to new experiences and possibilities. She takes a decision regarding her marriage and spends time working as a waitress at her friend’s restaurant. She happens to meet Paul by accident, through a date setup via a dating site. On Paul’s side, this is done by his friends as they think that he is not focusing on himself and his life. What turns starts off as a surprise and a joke, blossoms into a strong friendship between two people who want to experience more in their lives.

As we follow the two main characters on their journey of discovery, we travel a little with them as they deal with the consequences of their respective livelihoods. We also see love blossom as well as the uncertainty that follows it. The bonds between characters and the trust they have in their friends is something to learn from. The story is very well-written, it is fun, intriguing and is quite a pleasant read. I absolutely adored this book and recommend this to everyone.

Book Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com

My Thoughts:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop introduces us to chemist Grace O’Leary who is working on her PhD thesis. When she is framed for helping a student to cheat, she is stripped of her TA privileges and shunned by many of her peers. Looking for a break and a change of scenery, she volunteers to visit her Aunt Lucy who had a mild accident and to provide her support.

The reader is introduced to a variety of characters, but they are brought in quite abruptly. There is not a lot of background information provided about them which leads us to wonder how they are connected to the main character.  Much of Grace’s situation is a cliche, she meets a handsome young man who lives in her Aunt’s town, she is struggling to deal with the pressure of completing her thesis and finally, there is the mystery of who caused her aunt’s accident.

The events that occur seem sudden and disconnected. There are times when the reader will wonder how certain characters are even tied in or have information. It took me a while to get into the book and to really piece together the story.

However, as the story progresses, it becomes easier to understand the plot even though the characters were not very easy to relate to for me. There is magic, mystery and romance all mixed together rather haphazardly. But, this book proves to be a rather light and simple read if one does not try to focus too much on the plot. The friends that Grace makes and the support she receives in the end make it worthwhile to read about.

Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

About the Book:

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

My Thoughts:

I found this book while browsing through Instagram. There was a lot of posts about it and so much of praise. I knew that I had to read the book. It was the best decision I made.

Samantha Shannon weaves a world of fantasy, magic and dragons, that makes for a very compelling read. The story follows a great number of characters across various parts of the globe, mainly referred to based on the directions of North, South, East and West. Each direction has it’s own set of countries, rulers and stories. The author weaves them all together slowly, unraveling parts of the mystery and introducing us to many people.

As the story progresses, the reader has no choice but to keep going on. It is so well written, that the reader can imagine the scenes with ease. This helps to connect with the people and their surroundings. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, love and magic. There is also some betrayal, a lot of hope, a strong sense of duty and bonds that grows among people from being united against a common enemy.

The story follows the lives of Ead, Sabran and Tané. Each have their own stories, their own secrets and a big role to play in this narrative. In addition, we have a lot of supporting characters who play pivotal roles in shaping the happenings in the story. The characters are strong and well crafted making it easy for the reader to connect with them and understand them. Each of the characters are tested when their faith comes into question, as well as when they are forced to take decisions that would change the course of their lives forever. This has been very beautifully depicted and the companionship between some of the characters is heart-warming.

I absolutely loved this book and the journey I took with the characters as they navigated their lives and finally moved towards the fight with an ancient enemy. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there! This is worth the read!