The year 2017 in books!

As we move to welcome the new year of 2018, I would like to take a quick look at 2017 and the books that stood out to me over the year. Even though I managed to read about 58 books (2 less than 2016; much much less than my original target of 75), I am quite happy with the kind of books I found over the year.

Read on the know about my favorite books of the year 2017 (in no particular order). All the books mentioned below have been previously reviewed on my blog. I have included a part of the review for each book as well. Click on each title to be directed back to my review of the respective book.

Many of the books mentioned below were given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review, while others I found on NetGalley and Goodreads and jumped at the chance to expand my horizons and tastes. I was certainly enchanted and happy with my choices since the list below seems to go on forever! But, please be patient and take a look at these wonderful books!

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An overall thrilling and compelling read, this is another book in the style of Gone Girl that will have the reader hooked until the very end with an ending to shock. The starting may seem strange, the finish line stranger and in the middle, the reader is sure to get lost on the never ending journey of life much like that of the train.

Life takes unexpected turns, introduces new people to us, and in the end everyone has a role in shaping who you are. The author gives enough importance to all the relationships in this story and the feelings of the people involved. A well-written story with a moving plot, there is no doubt that the reader will fall in love with everything about this book.

The story is filled with heart-break but brings out the importance of family and the lengths to which people will go to rescue the ones they love. It also shows us the ways a persons ideas can affect and influence their decisions. I recommend this book mainly for the plot line and idea that the author is trying to portray and make us aware of.

The story brings out many issues, including the role of a woman in a marriage and the man as the sole earning member of the family, contrasting the various points of views through character perceptions. Through Massimo, we see a competitive streak, the Alpha male, someone who needs to always be above everyone else. He is driven and expects his son to be macho and athletic while the child is more oriented towards the arts. Nico on the other hand is more artistic and understands a child’s need to have fun and be themselves. As the story unfolds, these differences come into prominence, further defining their relationship with their respective wives and children.

The simple tones and calm manner in which things are dealt with make this story all that more pleasing. This was a wonderful read and I fell in love with every aspect of this story. The title, used extensively as demanded by the plot, will help the reader see that there is no need to end a relationship of any kind, there are times when it can just be postponed, with some understanding, care and love.

This story is filled with adventure and some interesting points of view that the author expresses but doesn’t preach about. It is thought provoking and the story is an enjoyable read!

The author will force the reader to think and experience each of the feelings through the stories and inspire them to think. There is so much food for thought and introspection. As a result of reading this anthology, the reader will come away affected, but much more human, stemming from a realization of sorts. It is difficult to describe this as it will differ from person to person, but it is clear that the reader will experience a vast number of emotions in this collection of stories. Read this for a rare and interesting experience.

With each characters account becoming more outrageous than the other, the entire story is one fun-filled ride that will have the reader in splits. A must-read for everyone, there can be no age limit to enjoying Marko’s stories!

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The Boy from Pataliputra is a well-written story with some wonderful messages of learning. The story flows well and is simply written. It’s a refreshing and enjoyable read, not only for history buffs, but for those who would love to know more about a time in India’s history that isn’t generally touched upon in books!

Beautifully written and crafted, there is a lot for the readers to learn out of this book and is something that will stay with you long after reading it. The book is gripping and though slow at times, the pace is understandable. A refreshing new novel from Catherine Ryan Hyde, this will only seek to inspire the readers to pick up more of her books!

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

This prequel has a lot of subplots and twists, bringing out the darkness of the times and the conspiracies and corruption behind the doors of the kingdom. Everyone has an agenda and something to hide. The characters are all portrayed in shades of grey, making us believe that they aren’t as bad as they actually are. Though the story is well written, there are many times when many of the characters introduced do not inspire empathy, in-spite of the dire circumstances. There is so much that seems to be cluttered together into this first part. It feels more like a rant on the system than a portrayal of emotions that arise due to the circumstances, with the nobles and the slaves, and then those who take advantage of and abuse their power!

Pushing these flaws to the side, the story has immense potential and brings out a feeling of nostalgia and a slight sense of satisfaction of knowing who these characters are. Of course, this is just the beginning, there is more to come!

A well-written novel, the author brings out the truth behind every person’s life, the hardships they face and the ease with which they can handle it when surrounded with people who love and support them. The simplicity of the plot and the depth of the characters make this a brilliant read.

A well-written novel, this book proves to be fun to read and is more mature in the nature of the plot as compared to the previous story. There the focus was on introducing the characters and making us familiar with them and the world. Now, it is more focused on the emotional depth of the characters and the plot. The story moves quickly and it is nice to read about a developing relationship between Bernie and Susie, which most of you would have seen coming. An entertaining concept, the author brings out a different perspective on life and creation.

This story is filled with people whom we can easily relate to, their troubles become our troubles and their pain is ours too. Such is the beauty of the author’s story telling. This book is worth a read for all the lessons it brings out and the life experiences along with the bonds between people. Even though people change in life, their journey shapes them, some bonds are forever and family is always there by your side no matter how bad it gets! That’s a message every reader will take away from this book!

The story moves across time as it unravels, going back and forth to give us a complete picture. The characters are well developed and deep, with the supporting characters playing major roles and contributing to this beautiful tale.

An inspiration, this story brings out the strength of women and how the love and support of those around them, helps them achieve wonders!

The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

The choices a person makes at different stages in life shapes their life and this is seen clearly through the decisions of the people in the book. This story will stay with you until the end and after, leaving behind a deeper impact and food for thought.

In reality, unless you have had to deal with such a situation by yourself, it is not easy to relate to the shock, pain and horror of someone having cancer. The author has brought out the feelings and emotions very well, making sure that the reader is able to understand them. We are taken on an emotional roller-coaster afterwards, as we follow Kate and her family as they deal with the cancer. The way it affects everyone and how Jessica deals with it form the crux of the later half of the story. There is a lot to learn from Jessica, who though a child, has an “old soul” and wisdom that goes beyond her years.

The final question that this book prompts is this: Would you love someone enough to let them go? and, if you do, can you live with the truth? These questions are food for thought and this well-written story is a gripping read to the end.

How do you recover from the pain and shock of the burns to living a normal life again? How does someone accept that they no longer look the way they used to, they are different in many ways? All this is covered and shared in great detail. The strength and support of the family and the people around them is wonderful and this story of hope and healing tells us that we are not alone, as long as we do not hesitate to ask for help. There is always someone out there who has gone through what you are going through and there are support groups and help if we seek it out.

This is a story of growth and healing of not only of Kilee but also of her family and her mother who stood by her and supported her. They treated her as a normal person, in spite of her burns and the difficulties she faced initially. She had to re-learn to do all the everyday things by herself and I think Lori deserves a huge amount of credit for her unwavering faith and support. The idea to help people deal with the trauma of burns and healing makes Kilee’s story worth a read!

The reader will marvel at the subtle hints the author drops about the issues raised and how the simplest gesture can hold more meaning than a big grand one. A story of trust, acceptance and learning, ‘The Wake Up’ will leave the reader with a lot to think about and maybe the concept of being sensitive to other people’s feelings if not other beings.

 

Please do share your thoughts and book recommendations for this year are definitely welcome.

Moving on from that, I look forward to 2018 being a much better year for books. I hope that you all continue to support me and give me the same love that you have shown this year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and trust.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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Get set for another emotional roller-coaster with A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s upcoming novel : A Charm of Finches will be out later this year. I was provided with an ARC and as usual I was swept away! I do not know what it is about her books and writing, but it completely sucks me in and then I move only after finishing the book! Suanne deals with many pertinent issues in her books and handles the topics, the emotions and her characters very well.

About the Book:

A Charm of Finches (Venery, #2)

“I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it.”

From the author of The Fish Tales comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series. In An Exaltation of Larks, Laqueur captured readers with a tale of life, friendship and the bonds of love that both create and destroy. A Charm of Finches follows Javier Landes as he retires from escorting, reinvents his writing career and invites love to be his friend. Both love and friendship arrive in the form of Steffen Finch, an art therapist from Manhattan, and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creative and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for delicate, complex cases. While his career is full of excellence, in matters of the heart he’s barely mediocre. Openly bisexual, his committed relationships have always been with women, but at the age of forty, a failed marriage and a handful of forgotten lovers are all he can call his own. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone who inspires him to be the best he can be. Someone like Javier Landes.

Geno Caan, one of Stef’s patients, is likewise struggling to find the best of himself after a sexual predator destroyed his family. Unsure of who he is or where he belongs, Geno allows an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions on who gets to come near him and for what purpose. Living a double life within a web of protective lies takes its toll and after a suicide attempt, Geno enters a private rehab facility and starts to work with Steffen Finch. Under Stef’s patient and compassionate navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud—the crucial first step in taking back his life. But when Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually spills onto Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, three overlapping lives form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war, and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

My Thoughts:

This new story by Suanne brings together three very different people in this story, highlighting their backgrounds and characters. She takes her time to focus on each one of them, including Jav, even though we have already met him and know his story (if you have already read An Exaltation of Larks).

Geno, a rape victim, is also forced to deal with the death of his twin brother and his father one after the other in a very short span of time. The trauma is not easy to deal with and his journey to healing forms the crux of this story. At the same time, Stef and Jav form an expected bond and take an instant liking to each other. The story of their growth as individuals and together forms the other part of this story.

Suanne deals with topics of trauma, self-discovery, healing as well as acceptance all rolled into one neat story. The emotions are deep and tug at your soul. They will force you to go through the issues of the characters with them and accompany them on their journey. A story filled with hope, love and everything good, Suanne doesn’t hesitate to highlight all the bad things that can happen in life and how they can be dealt with, without sounding preachy in any way.

The teaching techniques used and the concept of art for therapy is wonderful and frankly interesting to read about. The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

I will stop my review here, without talking a lot about the story for fear of divulging it all! Read it and enjoy!

An Exaltation of Larks is on sale! Grab it soon!

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An Exaltation of Larks

by

Suanne Laqueur

Synopsis

The paths of a married couple and a male escort cross in Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel about the price of love.

“We’re so alike, you and I. It’s no wonder we kept finding each other.”

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, An Exaltation of Larks explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

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Author Bio

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Suanne Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

With her Fish Tales series, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

Author Links

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The year that was…

With just 3 more days for the year 2016 to end, I thought it would be great to take a look back at some of the books that I enjoyed immensely throughout this year. It has been a good year where books are concerned. As many of you who may follow me on Goodreads or are my friends there may know, I managed to complete my target of 60 books for the year which is quite a personal achievement.

Read on the know about my favourite books of the year (in no particular order). I have picked out the books which have left a profound impact on me in some way, however minor it may be. All the books mentioned below have been previously reviewed on my blog. I have included a part of the review for each book as well. Click on each title to be directed back to my review of the respective book.

Many of the books I will list are based on real life, and many are just children’s stories. However all of them have inspired me and helped quench my thirst for reading.

Many of the books mentioned below were given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review, while others I found on Goodreads and jumped at the chance to expand my horizons and tastes. I was certainly enchanted and happy with my choices.

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  • Under the Pong Pong Tree by Hal Levey This is a refreshing read and a breath taking, heart  stopping account of life faced during the WWII, and a look at a smaller war that most would not comment on.
  • The minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes – This book not only chronicles the life of Billy Milligan, it brings out the psychology of the mind in relation to MPD as well as how easy it is for people to brand someone a charlatan or an attention seeker without really understanding them. Moreover, through the eyes of Billy’s personalities, we can form a picture as to why each one came to exist and how they played a part in his life. We are indeed afraid of the unknown and I believe this book gives us great insight into one of the mysteries of the mind.
  • The Ones That Got Away by Suanne Laqueur – This book only adds to the beauty of the story Suanne has crafted and will make the reader love it more. It will no doubt leave the reader with a heavy heart, but it was worth it. The characters and chapters that were created and written but got left behind or removed from the story are well worth the effort of writing them. Sometimes, as Suanne has mentioned, it’s better to just write what you think and then see the usage later on. The bonus insight into Erik’s younger days when his father was still there and after he leaves are wonderful and I hope Suanne uses this in a story sometime in the future. I will say this, everyone should, at some point, read The Man I Love and enjoy this story and world as much as I have.
  • Delbert – The Reluctant Spy (book #1) by Marko Kitti – The story is filled with adventure and lots of humor as we follow Delbert on his journey towards becoming an international secret agent. It is written in Marko’s unique style, something you’d already recognize if you are, like me, a fan of the Jesper Jinx series and the language is simple and easy to follow. Overall this is a new series from Marko that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. It is an easy and entertaining read, even for those who are much older but have perhaps forgotten to grow up, just like me!
  • Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde – The story teaches us to ask questions, to seek for the answers before making a judgement call, to think before one acts. This is a wonderfully written book and will tug at your heart strings in more ways than you can imagine. It teaches the reader so many lessons that I highly recommend this book to everyone.
  • Love Warrior : A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton – This memoir, teaches us all to be warriors. We can all do it, even when one hits rock bottom, one can only go upwards from there. The writing is wonderful and through this, Glennon expresses deep emotions, sharing a lot of her experiences with us. The memoir will pull the reader into it, making us experience every single emotion that the author did, and at the end, it will spit the reader out, a different person. The entire book will touch you in ways you will not expect and is worth the time spent reading.
  • Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero – To be honest, I had to put up a fight with my sane self (or conscience) to read the book and at times I had to pause for a while to let go of the emotions that were building up while reading. Sometimes the plot sows down, but the author does justice in the way she has described each scene and the setting of the story.
  • The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna – It is a short book, with exactly 4 stories and can be read rather quickly. It would make a wonderful read while traveling. I think that every person should read this book as there is a lot to take away from the stories. There is much to learn and the author conveys the same without sounding preachy. Focusing on women empowerment and the important role that women play, the author has largely depicted the trials that women face in their everyday lives.
  • An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur – Upon reading the summary/synopsis of the story, one can figure out much about the plot and thus I will refrain from explaining more about it for fear of revealing everything. This book is not just a simple story, it is a journey that the reader must prepare themselves to embark on with no chance of return. The story will touch the reader in ways that they would not expect and there will be no chance of putting the book down. Even after finishing it, for a time, the reader will feel as though there is a void inside them and they need time to fill it up again and feel whole. These are the kind of emotions that Suanne inspires in the reader through her writing.

    Life is an unpredictable roller-coaster ride and all we can do is choose the paths we want to take at each cross-road and then live with our decisions.

  • The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One & Two by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr – This book continues on in chapters from where the previous left off. The authors flawlessly craft the story to take us further and draw us in. They maintain the playfulness and style of expression which is quite refreshing and enhance the concepts and story. It is easy to experience everything with the characters and this is one of the main things that drew my attention.The style of writing, the description about each projection only add to the soaring imagination of the reader. A wonderful feat achieved successfully by the authors. Kudos to the work they have done and the time they have spent in creating this world.It has been a while since reading Harry Potter, that a series in this genre has kept me hooked. I will say it again and again that this is one mega awesome read! Keep projecting and I hope that the next book comes out soon.

Please do share your thoughts and book recommendations for the next year are definitely welcome.

Moving on from that, I look forward to 2017 being a much better year for books. I hope that you all continue to support me and give me the same love that you have shown this year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and trust.

Happy New Year in advance!

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Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

About the Book:

An Exaltation of Larks

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is one intense read! Keeping in sync with her style of writing, Suanne has given us yet another wonderful book. After the emotional roller coaster that The Fish Tales was, this book only adds to her brilliant collection. This story is both different and in some small ways, same as that of the Fish Tales.

The author’s style of writing will ensure that the reader is drawn into the story. We have no choice but to become a part of it, another character added into the mix. We go through all the emotions and situations that the characters in the story do. The story deals with love, relationships, friendships and the trials people face when all this collide. The emotions will consume you as a reader and once you start, there is no stopping.

The love, tragedy and death that surrounds two of our principal characters is over whelming and heart wrenching. We follow the characters as they grow up, starting from their childhood right into adulthood, the story spans more than thirty years in their lives. The story also focuses on how these characters help each other deal with their lives and heal. They’re on the path to healing and self-discovery filled with compassion and love.

Suanne is back with characters who are bold, sensual, confident and deeply emotional, in touch with their inner feelings. They are strong enough to deal with their inner demons head on and to fight for the ones they love. They fight for what is theirs and it is always a collective “us” and not an “I” with any of the characters. All this makes it easy for us to fall in love with them and their journey in life becomes ours. The supporting characters (and I must say that there are many) are brilliant and make the story all the more enchanting. They add the right amount of spice that is required making it a great mix.

Love is the biggest motivator and driving factor behind this story. It is ultimately the cause of and reason for all the events that take place. As we watch Alex, Val and Javier grow in parallel but different story arcs, the reader will have no choice but to fall in love with them even as they fall in love with each other and turn their lives up side down.

Upon reading the summary/synopsis of the story, one can figure out much about the plot and thus I will refrain from explaining more about it for fear of revealing everything. This book is not just a simple story, it is a journey that the reader must prepare themselves to embark on with no chance of return. The story will touch the reader in ways that they would not expect and there will be no chance of putting the book down. Even after finishing it, for a time, the reader will feel as though there is a void inside them and they need time to fill it up again and feel whole. These are the kind of emotions that Suanne inspires in the reader through her writing.

Life is an unpredicatable roller-coaster ride and all we can do is choose the paths we want to take at each cross-road and then live with our decisions.

Release Blitz: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

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An Exaltation of Larks

Suanne Laqueur

Release Date: November 22, 2016

Synopsis

The paths of a married couple and a male escort cross in Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel about the price of love.

“We’re so alike, you and I. It’s no wonder we kept finding each other.”

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, An Exaltation of Larks explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

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Author Bio

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Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

With her Fish Tales series, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

Author Links

Email |Website |Facebook |Twitter |Goodreads |Instagram | Pinterest |Amazon

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Book Review: The Ones That Got Away by Suanne Laqueur

I was provided with an ARC of Suanne Laqueur’s upcoming book in the Fish Tales series. Read on to know my take on the book. The book will be available on Amazon on July 7th.

Please note that the review may contain some spoilers, but for those who have already read the book, there aren’t too many surprises.

About the Book:

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Plenty of fish in the sea. But none like the ones that got away.

Author Suanne Laqueur gives her readers an intimate, guided tour of the award-winning novel, The Man I Love. From the embryonic chapters written over twenty years ago to scenes cut from the final draft, you’ll witness the crafting of an emotional journey and the evolution of the beloved characters within The Fish Tales.

Includes never-before-seen material and an excerpt from Laqueur’s next novel, An Exaltation of Larks.

My Thoughts:

Suanne Laqueur is back with yet another book and this time it is not a story per se, but an insight into the making of one of the stories we have read and loved, The Fish Tales. It is the story of the journey, the behind the scenes, the creation of Erik and all the other people whom we love and mourn. In a simple and slightly humorous manner, Suanne has shared excerpts from her early writing interspersed with quirky thoughts/comments that she has added now, almost 20 years after she first penned those words.

The story behind the story, this gives us an insight into how the characters were born, how they developed and became the people we came to meet and know so well. As Suanne mentioned at the beginning. This is definitely along the lines of fan fiction and some may even point out that it is inclined towards obsession. However, those who have read TMIL, will completely understand this as they, like me, have taken this journey with Erik and Daisy, not just at a superficial level, but also at the emotional level. The stories will strike your emotional chord and through this book, Suanne keeps the thoughts, emotions and memories alive.

This book brings a sense of nostalgia with it as well as a sense of belonging. It is interesting to see how Suanne first pictured Erik and Daisy and how they grew from there to become who they are now. Somehow, it is clear that some of the basic ideas of the plot never changed. We are also introduced to some people she created, but they never made an appearance in the final story. It is wonderful to meet them however, and knowing how Suanne pictured them fitting into the lives of the characters we know sheds a great deal of light into her way of thinking and her style of writing. The glimpses she provides into some of her written material show us how raw and real her writing is. The style never changes and the emotions are there, no matter what she writes about.

Suanne provides insights into two of the most wonderful people of these stories, Will Kreager and Lucia Dare. She brings us parts of the story from their perspective, mainly from Will’s and shows us how the various events that occur affect them. She clearly brings out Will’s interest in Lucky, Daisy and Erik, his relationship with James and his feelings throughout the story. Seeing everything from his perspective, will bring the reader closer to him than before. As endearing as he was previously, this insight gives new meaning to his existence.

Reading this book feels as though we are sitting with an old friend and taking a stroll down memory lane.

Suanne also expands on how the trauma of the shooting affected not just Daisy and Erik, which we have already seen in TMIL and GMYAT, but also Will and Lucky. She expands on what they feel, how they react, how their relationship develops, breaks and then returns, stronger than ever. She also brings out how Will’s actions eventually lead to the shooting and all events that led to it and that happened after. Even though it cannot be said that everything that happened is his fault, he was a part of what set everything in motion. One decision changes all.

This book only adds to the beauty of the story Suanne has crafted and will make the reader love it more. It will no doubt leave the reader with a heavy heart, but it was worth it. The characters and chapters that were created and written but got left behind or removed from the story are well worth the effort of writing them. Sometimes, as Suanne has mentioned, it’s better to just write what you think and then see the usage later on. The bonus insight into Erik’s younger days when his father was still there and after he leaves are wonderful and I hope Suanne uses this in a story sometime in the future.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to summarize my thoughts about this book in a nutshell, and given a chance, I will keep talking about it. This is the first time I have written so much about a book and it has made me experience emotions so deeply that it is slightly difficult to come back to reality. However, I will say this, everyone should, at some point, read The Man I Love and enjoy this story and world as much as I have.

Finally, Suanne gives us a glimpse of her upcoming novel, An Exaltation of Larks which is definitely much awaited for by fans of her books.

 

The Fish Tales Series is on Sale!

Author Suanne Laqueur would like you all to know that from May 11th through May 18th, all books in the Fish Tales series will be priced at 0.99! I personally vouch for this series and believe that they are worth reading as well as collecting! My reviews of the books are already available on the blog and can be referred to for more information. My review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon.com if you guys are looking for a small push to cement your decision in buying the books!

FishTalesSeries

The following are the buy links for the books:

Amazon US Links:

The Man I Lovehttp://www.amazon.com/The-Man-Love-Suanne-Laqueur-ebook/dp/B00L2H6CSO/

Give Me Your Answer Truehttp://www.amazon.com/Give-Me-Your-Answer-True-ebook/dp/B00V0ZF7MK/

Here to Stayhttp://www.amazon.com/Here-Stay-Fish-Tales-Book-ebook/dp/B01AKBIZB4/

Amazon UK Links:

The Man I Love: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00L2H6CSO/

Give Me Your Answer True: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Give-Your-Answer-True-Tales-ebook/dp/B00V0ZF7MK/

Here to Stay: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AKBIZB4

Book Review: Here to Stay by Suanne Laqueur

Here to Stay is the sequel to The Man I Love. The book is set for release in January 2016. I was provide with an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have also had the pleasure of reading The Man I love and it’s parallel narrative in Daisy’s POV: Give me your answer true.

Here to Stay (The Fish Tales, #3)

About the Book:

“You can’t sort of do this, Fish. Draw a line and get on one side or the other…”

Love is never so sweet as when it receives a second chance. In the sequel to the award-winning novel The Man I Love, Suanne Laqueur continues the story of Erik Fiskare’s romance with Daisy Bianco. Though separated for twelve years, the extraordinary bond they forged in their youth has endured. Now reconciled and committed as adults, they begin to create a new life together.

Laqueur crafts a new journey that stretches into both the future and the past. Erik’s passionate, soulful love for Daisy continues to evolve and be tested. His friendship with Will Kaeger grows deeper and more complex. And unexpected contact with his Fiskare cousins offers insight to the cruel childhood desertion that shaped Erik as an adult. With Daisy at his side, he travels back to his hometown to explore fragile memories, meet his people and learn about the charms on his signature, heirloom necklace.

All these relationships will prove invaluable when Erik faces his greatest challenge as a son, a husband and a father. Once he walked away from everything he loved. But now he is here to stay.

My Thoughts:

*Spoiler alert*

For those of you who have not read the first book, some things mentioned throughout the review may be treated as small spoilers, but I promise to avoid any direct references to events in this story.

Here to Stay continues where The Man I Love left off. Erik finally returns to face his past and apologises to Daisy. They start working on their relationship and Erik also focuses on his relationship with his friends and family. Many references are made to the past and all the events that led up to the current situation. Thus it is indeed necessary to read The Man I Love before reading this. Note: It is not necessary but is a plus if Give Me Your Answer True is also read before this.

The story is filled with strong, raw emotion expressed beautifully in a style that one will understand and associate with Suanne. The reader will be drawn in as the journey continues and there will not come a moment when the reader will want to stop.

Though this story goes at a slightly slower pace than the first one, it gives the feeling that everything has settled down and hence the pace of the story also seems to be in tune with the tone.

This entire story is an emotional roller-coaster that portrays a deep romance that some say is the kind that are meant to be or the made for each other stuff. I know it can be hard to believe or digest but the author convinces us that fairy-tales can be true and that we can all have our stories as long as there is belief and trust.

A lot can be learnt about relationships and how fragile they are as well as the thin line between trust and betrayal. The focus is on finding oneself even after everything that happens and learning to forgive and move on.

A great story and a wonderfully written book that will tear at your heartstrings and move you to tears! This is for all the romantics out there showing that this kind of love does exist. This is also a must read for every person, to understand that there will be a lot of ups and downs in life, but the most important thing is to hold on to your family and friends and open up about one’s thoughts and feelings.

I would like to end my review here. If I continue writing I will just keep going on and on like a broken record, trying to stress on how much I have enjoyed this sequel. I hope you all decide to read these books too.

Book Review: Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

About the Book:

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“What I feel has no name…”

Following her award-winning debut novel The Man I Love, author Suanne Laqueur now gives Daisy Bianco a chance to tell her story.

It’s been three years since an egregious error of judgement cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he’s chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her. Alone and shattered, she attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik’s unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the shootings at Lancaster, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John “Opie” Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again.

Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the years at Lancaster with Daisy’s present life. Supported by John’s patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me.

In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they evolved without being resolved. Because when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.

My Thoughts:

I am sure all of you have read my thoughts on Suanne’s first book The Man I Love. If not please go and check it out. Following that, Suanne asked me whether I would be interested in reading GMYAT and sharing some of my thoughts. I cannot deny that I was excited to get a chance to know the story from Daisy’s perspective.

This story can be considered as a parallel narrative to TMIL. Personally I would suggest reading TMIL first and then GMYAT. The reasons for this will hopefully become clear as you read my review.

GMYAT follows the events of the shooting at Lancaster University through the eyes of Daisy. The story highlights her thoughts and her feelings throughout the entire timeline of events and beyond. Since the author had already introduced the story sequentially in TMIL, she seems to have handled the narration in this book differently.

The story follows Daisy’s sessions with her therapist Rita as she talks about the events that finally led her to the point of needing to see a therapist interspersed with flashbacks to events in the past. All this until we reach the present day in Daisy’s life from where we follow her as she proceeds to take her life back into control and move forward.

The author beings out pure emotion at every stage and they are expressed so wonderfully that as a reader I was able to feel everything that the characters were feeling. The strength and depth of the emotions startled me.

It is quite intriguing to witness how one incident can change the life of a lot of people. the pain they endure and the way they deal with the situation changes them all. Through this story, the reader will also meet John, Will and Lucky. We are shown a side of them that we never knew while reading TMIL. In TMIL, the story was told from Erik’s POV and so everything was described based on how he perceived it.

In GMYAT, Lucky and Will, who were her friends even before Erik came, are shown in a different light. Suanne highlights their friendship and how it started and the level of comfort they all shared. Suanna focusses on telling us the stories of many of the principle characters who appeared in TMIL. Through this narration we see them in a different light and get to know more about them and their personalities. The story also talks about Daisy’s relationship with John and how he helps bring her out of depression. All the events that lead up to this and what happens after are dealt with deftly and showcased through Daisy’s memories and experiences.

As always, Suanne has strengthened her character sketches in this narration thus making us relate to them even more. It is easy to understand them. Suanne flawlessly crafts the story in a way to make the reader experience all the emotions she is describing at each stage. The story comes to an end at the same instant as TMIL does but the path taken to reach there is what makes GMYAT different.

This story is a wonderful parallel narrative to TMIL and will once again bring the readers in contact with the characters Suanne introduced in TMIL. I strongly recommend this book for the sheer beauty of the narration and the depth of emotions protrayed through the style of writing.