Recommended Reads: November 2014


It's time for this month's Recommended Reads. It's a wonderful month in terms of reading for me. I didn't read as much as I wanted but I read some awesome books, so I have a couple recommendations and some honourable mentions.

Recommended Reads

Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, M/M
My review
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Buy on  Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Riptide

I've just recently discovered Alexis Hall and he has quickly become one of the favourite author. This contemporary m/m romance is both realistic and dreamy at the same time. It's a masterfully written story about love, mental illness and the search for happiness. There is sadness and desperation in it, but also a lot of glitter and a tiny for a better future. 

Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, India
My review
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Buy on Amazon / B&N / Kobo

This is my first Indian romance/romantic comedy and I really enjoyed it. Told from dual POV is's a sweet and engaging love story full of the vibrancy and colourful drama typical for the Bollywood movies. It takes you on a journey to present-day India and some of the USA.
Sweet, funny, emotional!

Honourable mentions:

An anthology of 4 short stories about the couple from the Knitting in the City series we have met so far plus an intro story about the next couple - Fionna and Greg. It will be available until 15 December. It's 0.99 and the proceeds go to Toys for Tots. A recommended read for fans of the series!My review. Add on Goodreads
Buy from Amazon / B&N / Kobo

A fabulous allegorical short story about love and loss written in the impeccable style of Alexis Hall. It broke my heart but i'm glad I read it and I can't recommend it enough. My review. Add to Goodreads
Buy from Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Riptide 

I expected a lighthearted  romantic comedy but what I got was story of love and second chances and making the right decision, be it an impulsive one. Review to come. Add to Goodreads
Pre-order from Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Penguin

Cindy Gerard

Waiting on Wednesday: Running Blind by Cindy Gerard


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

special ops guy, sexy
Title: Running Blind (One-Eyed Jacks #3)
Author: Cindy Gerard
Genre: Romantic suspense

Release Date: 24 Feb 2015

Pre-order links: B&N | Amazon 

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Tension sizzles in this new book in the One-Eyed Jacks series by New York Times bestseller Cindy Gerard: a sexy, pulse-pounding story featuring special ops agent Jamie Cooper and a female cyber analyst as they fight for justice and fall in love.

No commitments, no promises, no looking back. Those are her rules. They used to be his rules, too. Counterterrorism operative and shameless playboy Jamie Cooper has gone head-to-head with some formidable opponents, but none so quick-witted, free-spirited, and smokin’ hot as security analyst Rhonda Burns. She lives up to her name, all fiery passion and zero inhibitions. 

In the wake of a sniper attack that leaves a close friend clinging to life, the duo is pegged to undertake the One-Eyed Jacks’ latest security mission alone—an assignment that leads them to a top-secret desert military facility. Almost immediately, the sexual tension that has been brewing for months erupts, blindsiding Rhonda and Jamie with the intensity of their feelings. They try to play it cool, but when an elite terrorist team makes the future uncertain, they ask themselves: is it now or never?

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - I read the previous book in the series when it came out last winter and i have been  waiting for this one ever since. I enjoy a good romantic suspense involving military men and in this case, a military woman as well, so it should be good read for me.  


Book Blogging #3: Book Blog Memes


There are a lot of book memes going on the blogosphere and I found them confusing initially but after almost two years of blogging and having tried a few of them, I'm still no expert on the topic, still I to share my experience as part of my posts on book blogging.

Participating in book memes is a great way to meet new bloggers and discover great books and other book related things. It's time consuming, though, so I'd suggest to do it only as long as you are enjoying yourself and not treating it as a chore or a task that you have to accomplish by all means in order to have a popular/successful blog. I've made some great friendships through the book memes I've done and I'm still doing. Now, that I'm back to work full time, I've cut on the memes I'm participating. Here are of my favourite ones: 

Teaser Tuesday - hosted by Miz B
at Should be Reading  
It's the first meme I participated in and the longest one I have done. It requires you to share two random sentences from your current read. Instead of picking up random ones, I choose very carefully an intriguing snippet of the story I'm currently reading and the one I've just finished. It's a fun and easy meme. My only complaint about it is that the main post (where you can share your link) didn't always go up at the same time an I had to check a number of times during the day in order to link up my post. I'm not longer participating in this meme on the blog, although I post the occasional #TeaserTuesday post on my FB  page.
Popularity - Medium, there are some Christian blogs participating

Top Ten Tuesday - hosted at The Broke and the Bookish
It features a list of 10 (or less) bookish things - books, characters, topics, etc. The topics are listed on the site well in advance and there some very interesting ones. I've participated a few times and I have a great time. On the downside, I find it very time consuming to prepare my weekly post.
Popularity - High

Waiting on Wednesday - hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
It's a weekly meme where blogger share the their most anticipated books. I started participating in this meme just recently and I really enjoy it. I can prepare my post in advance (I have far too many books I'm looking forward to be released) which is very convenient for me now that I have less time for blogging.
Popularity - High

I started my own (small) monthly meme - Recommended Reads - where I present the best books I read in the past month. I've only done it the past 3 months and I'd be happy if more people would join in (with posts or just comments with their recommended reads).
Populatiry - Very low (hopefully, just for now)

You can look for my Recommended Reads from November post next Sunday. Don;t forget to join me with your best reads of the months.

For a full list of active book memes, check the Book Blog Meme Dicrectory compiled by Booshelf Fantasies.


Review: Retrace by Sigal Ehrlich


Title: Retrace
Author: Sigal Ehrlich
Date of publication: 6 Nov 2014
Genre/Themes: Romance, New Adult

Author's links: Website / TwitterFacebook / Goodreads

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My rating: 3 stars


Nia Martins believes a fresh start will help her leave her traumatic past behind. Moving to a different country, she seeks to shake off her demons by doing the one thing that sets her free from her destructive thoughts – teaching dance. But change doesn't come easy, and all Nia really wants is to take the next breath without the perpetual suffocation that follows.

Reeves Mitchell has looked death in the eyes so many times it’s become habitual. That is, until his best friend's life was on the line. When the one thing he feared the most turns into reality, all he can do is pick up the pieces of his loss. As Reeves tries to live with the constant thought of “what if” gnawing at the back of his mind, he persistently and steadily builds a thick wall around himself.

Their solitary lives are all they have—until fate brings them together. Nia and Reeves’ new friendship helps make life, shadowed by the ghosts of their past, more bearable. But as their relationship deepens and new, suppressed feelings emerge between them, are they willing to retrace their steps back to where wounded hearts can be broken once more?


This is my first book by this author and I was drawn to it by the beautiful cover and the premise of a romance between a dancer with a broken soul and a dangerous, tortured hero What a got was a nice, albeit passionate romance but I felt the story lack depth to be a more memorable read. 

It's told from dual POV which I quite liked since we get to be in the head both of Nia and Reeves. Their voices were rather distinctive and revealed their background and personalities quite well.

There is a lot of telling in this story and not enough showing. We learned certain facts from the character's background but they are told as simple facts and their impact in the characters' present was not shown. Nia's dancing was supposed to be central to the story but it didn't feel that way to me - she could have been doing anything else. On the other side, Reeves' military/FBI past was rather violent but it was also toned down a lot. The emphasis was just on their growing attraction and it didn't feel very authentic to me

They both developed feelings for one another beyond the strong chemistry and lust, yet they kept denying them at every occasion, both to themselves and to the others. It was immature and it didn't fit two grown-up with turbulent pasts and some/considerable life experience.

There a bunch of secondary characters appearing in this story - some with considerable page time, others - just making a brief appearance. They were interesting but didn't add much to the story of Nia and Reeves. I was particularly annoyed with Kate, Reeves' best friend's sister. She was this shy girl with a crush on Reeves, then we see her acting completely out of character, being mean and spiteful and doing some crazy things.

The story started, the prologue especially was very powerful, but things slowed down considerably towards the middle. Both Nia and Reeves were stuck, not admitting their true feelings. This said, the book ended on a positive note with a great epilogue.

Overall, it was a nice read, though it had a bit too New Adult feel to it - a lot of angst and some melodrama. I expected a more adult romance with deeper/darker emotions but fans of stories with tortured, broken heroes and heroines finding their HEA, should give this story a try. I believe they will enjoy it more than me.

Purchase link: Amazon

Karen Marie Moning

Waiting on Wednesday: Burned by Karen Marie Moning


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Burned (Fever #7)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Genre/Themes: Paranormal roamnce, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: 20 Jan 2015

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Pre-order link: Amazon / B&N 


It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.
When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed. Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this? - The Fever series is my favourite PNR/Urban Fantasy series and the wait for this book has been so long (over a year). Danni is not favourite character but she will be all grown up in this book and I'm curious how her story will develop. And we will get to see more of Mac and Barrons which is always a good thing. Ms Moning has started sharing excerpts from this book over on Fb and I can tell you just one thing about them - HOT!


Review: Shadowed Heart by Laura Florand


Title: Shadowed Heart: A Luc and Summers Novel
(Amour et Chocolat #5.5)
Author: Laura Florand
Date of publication: 3 Dec 2014
Genre/Themes: Romance, French chocolatiers

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 3.5 stars


Three words, to shake a man’s existence.

Three words, to call on all a man’s strength, all his courage, all his love, and all his ability to hope and dream…and trust.

Three words, to wake up every fear a man has ever had.

“I’m pregnant, Luc.”

Now how could a man be perfect enough for that?

Romantic Times calls Laura Florand's writing "sensuous and sumptuous", awarding her their Seal of Excellence and nominating her for Best Book of the Year, and NPR says it's "explosive, sensual . . . and utterly sweet".

Now in this sequel to The Chocolate Heart, Florand takes us into the heart of happily ever after with a story full of love, hope, and friendship. Struggling to get their new restaurant off the ground in the south of France, newly married top chef Luc Leroi and his wife Summer must face all their demons at the prospect of becoming parents. Fortunately, Summer's cousins and Luc's rival chefs join forces with the couple to prove that not even a top chef has to handle everything alone and happiness really can last ever after. 


Note: The blurb is rather vague and I'm afraid I won't be able to avoid some minor spoilers in my review. Furthermore, this is sequel to The Chocolate Heart, and I will be refering to some events and characters from that novel as well. 

I like romances about married couples especially ones involving pregnancy/children and I was excited to read this one. Luc and Summer are one my favourite couples in the series and I was happy that Ms Florand decided to continue their story after the Happily ever after.

We get the typical sensual and beautiful writing which is characteristic of Ms Florand's novels. The story flows gently, a bit slow at times, and it's overflowing with emotions as the characters struggle to keep up with the changes in their lives. 

Luc and Summer are trying to set up their new life as a married couple in Provence when an unexpected but very much wanted pregnancy adds yet another level of stress and anxiety to both of them. Both Luc and Summer have far too many issues/insecurities to deal with and as their natural reaction, they withdrew deep into themselves instead of talking. Their confusion, fears and deep desire to be there for each other and to be perfect parents (when neither of them had good role models for parenting) felt authentic and was easy to understandand relate to. Yet, I got frustrated with them for not taking to time to talk to each other. 

Even after they began opening more to each other, I felt that the big conflict came about because of a simple misunderstanding that could have been easily avoided.  

We see the whole gang of the Cade sisters and their French chocolatiers, Patrick and Sarah and some other chefs as well. A true of support for the new expecting couple. I enjoyed how the seriousness of the concerns of raising a child was coupled with lighthearted humor and sense of silent/unobtrusive camaraderie. Of course, much of the focus was on food which is generally a strong and ever present metaphor in this series. 

And the ending was perfect, full of optimism and totally looking forward to the future. I appreciate how Ms Florand didn't belittle or swept away the challenges in a perfect HEA. There will be struggles ahead for Summer and Luc, yet finally they are ready to face them together and to rely on the support of the people who care about them. 

I expected the story to cover a longer period and I was surprised that it was condensed in such a short time span. I was looking forward to seeing the couple further along in their family life. After thinking it over I realized that I had started this story with certain fixed assumptions related to the unexpected pregnancy trope in romance and while they were not (fully) met, I found the story enjoyable and refreshing. The depth of feelings and the way the character deal/fail to deal with their complex issues made a very engaging story. A recommended read for fans of the series!

Purchase link: Amazon


Mini Review: Scenes from the City by Penny Reid


Title: Scenes from the City (Knitting in the City #5.5)
Author: Penny Reid
Date of publication: 1 Dec 2014
Genre: Romance, short stories

Author links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Blurb

Scenes from the City (Knitting in the City #5.5)
aka... the Festivus Surprise
100% of proceeds go to Toys for Tots.
This book cannot be read as a standalone. It is a collection of short scenes following the ladies from the 'Knitting in the City' series and will only be available in eBook format from December 1 - December 15, 2014.
'Neanderthal Seeks Honeymoon' - Janie and Quinn
'Friends Definitely With Benefits' - Elizabeth and Nico
'Hacking the Hacker' - Sandra and Alex
'Beauty and the Beard' - Ashley and Drew
'Ninja at First Sight' - Fiona and Greg

Mini Review

Scenes from the City, aka Festivus Surprise is a collection of  5 short stories about the already published four books in the Knitting in the City series and the upcoming release of book 5, Happily Ever Ninja

I loved all the snippets into our favourite knitting club ladies and the men in their lives. The stories are written with the trademrk sense of humour of Ms Reid and her appreciation of the awkward . They read easily and all show the characters in all their awesomeness. 

We get at glimpse of Janie and Quinn on their honeymoon - and as can be expected with these two, it's full of passionate lovemaking and the wierdest/funniest conversations in the meantime. 

Sandra and Nico's story is tender and touching and absolutely loved it. There is more seriousness to it, even some sadness but it's also beautiful and intimate.

Sandra and Alex show their love for one another in the most unconventional way which is also they only way they both know how and while most people would find it strange, even unacceptable, it works well for them. 

Now, what can I tell you about Ashley and Drew? I loved their story the best - it's so full of raw passion and deep emotion. It made me want to go back and re-read Beauty and the Mustache for more Drew deliciousness.  I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time. 

In the final snippet with get to meet the young Fiona and Greg while they are in college. They both seem intriguing characters, especially him, and I'm now getting really impatient to read their story. 

This book is available for pre-order for 0.99$ on Amazon and will be available for purchase only between 01 and 15 December 2014. A recommdended read, one which I'm sure, fans of the series will enjoy a lot.

Pre-order link: Amazon


Waiting on Wednesday: Give It All by Cara McKenna


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Give It All (Desert Dogs #2)
Author: Cara McKenna
Genre: Contemporary romance, Bikers

Release Date: 3 Feb 2015
Add on Goodreads
Pre-order links: Amazon / B&N


Keep your friends close—and your enemies closer....

Bar owner Raina Harper can’t say for sure what Duncan Welch is to her. With her small Nevada town under siege by a ruthless casino development and still reeling from a spate of murders, she knows that trusting the public face of the corporate invaders is risky to say the least. Though, damn, it’s one fine-looking face.…

Duncan may be a mercenary when it comes to getting the job done, but he’s no villain. In fact, the calculating fixer soon finds himself in the bad guys’ crosshairs, framed and facing professional ruin. To clear his name, he’ll need help from Raina and her roughneck motorcycle club, the Desert Dogs. Gaining their trust won’t be easy, and the molten sexual tension between Raina and Duncan only makes things more complicated—especially since Miah Church, Raina’s friend and ex-lover, would sooner strangle Duncan than shake his hand.

One thing’s certain, though: If they don’t deal with their incendiary attraction soon, the whole damn town might go up in flames.…

*** *** *** 

Why am I waiting for this? - Cara McKenna is a favourite author of mine. She writes intense erotic stories which I absolutely love. The first book in this series, Lay It Down, was a 5-star read for me and I don't expect any less of this one. Duncan was not my favourite person in book 1 and I feel bad for Raina choosing him over Miah but I hope that Ms McKenna can win me over on their side.
Aaaand, Ms McKenna will be giving us a novella of Miah and Raina when they were together. I can't tell you how excited all this makes me. You can read more about this over at Wonk-o-Mance.

Alexis Hall

Review: Glitterland by Alexis Hall


Title: Glitterland
Author: Alexis Hall
Date of publication: 26 Aug 2013
Genre: M/M romance

Author links:
Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter 

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My rating: 5 Stars


The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?


I have the hardest time reviewing books that I really love. And this is definitely one of them. I also made the mistake a reading all the info on the book Mr. Hall has shared on his website, together with the blog tour posts and all this additional insight into the story of Ash and Darian just made me love it more and further complicated my efforts to write a constructive review.

It's Mr. Hall's debut novel, a fabulous m/m romance beautiful and skillfully told. I'm alrady a big fan of his writing style (I read Prosperity before this one) this story stole my heart.

The story of Ash and Darian is moving and real without being melodramatic. It's told solely from Ash's POV and his voice is dark and pained but also captivating in its honesty and rawness. He is a bipolar depressive writer and his illness/issues affect everything he does. The story shows his journey to accepting that he is allowed to search for happiness. It's scary how much I could relate to some of his thoughts and fears (and I thought I was a well-adjusted and optimistic person). He is not a nice guy and it's not just because of his illness, it's beacuse of his life, I think. At the same time, there is so much vulnerablity to him. Very much like Milord in Prosperity, Mr. Hall has managed to make me care deeply and sympathise with the villan/bad guy in the story. Though, unlike Milord, I think Ash mostly is lost and he hurts the others mostly without meaning to do it, though he also has his moments of cruelty.

Darian, oh Darian! He is unqiue, flamboyant, full of life, hope, a total opposite to Ash. There is a strong emphasis throughout the story of how different Ash and Darian are, yet they compelent each other perfectly. I do not really belive that opposites attract and I think that two people need to have a common ground in order to make a relationshop work. Yet, Ash and Darian manage to be happy together despite their difference. Ash admires Darian for his lack of inhibitions, his fearlessness, his desire to live life to the fullest. He is in way what Ash wants to be. 

I loved Niall and even though he was all wrong for Ash and see him as an overall good guy who is quite unlucky in love. The romantic in me beleive, even though it was not explicitly stated in the book, that  finally he got his love reciprocated with the most handsome guy he met in the bar.

The book ends with a HFN ending, which absolutely fits Ash and Darian. There is a follow-up short story, which the author insists is not an Epilogue, but more of completion of Ash and Darian coming together coupled with some passionate sexy times. Glitterland: Aftermath is availabe for free on the Riptide site.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic story beautifully told. There is a lot of emotion, some drama and some angst and a ton of glitter to counter Ash's dark thoughts. One of the best books of the year for me, but I'm partial since I absolutely love everythign Alexis Hall writes.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Riptide


Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev


Title: A Bollywood Affair
Author: Sonali Dev
Date of publication: 28 Oct 2014
Genre/themes: Contemporary romance, India/USA

Author's links:
Goodreads / Website / Facebook
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.


What a fantastic debut romance! It was my first by an Indian author and I had so much fun reading the story Ms Dev has so skillfully created. 

It is a lovely romance, full of passion and drama, colourful and funny and devastatingly sad at time, just like a typical Bollywood movie. And I do love watching Bollywood movies occasionally, they never fail to put me in a good mood and to leave me with a silly happy smile on my face. A Bollywood Affair did just that!

The story is set both in India and USA and follows Milli, village girl from India, once a child bride and now a young woman in search of her happiness and freedom. And she finds everything she has been looking for in Samir, a young successful Bollywood director and brother to her child husband. Now all this makes for one very messy, very sweet and very funny love story. 

The story is told from dual POV - Milli and Samir - they were both fantastic characters. They had great chemistry, a slowly growing romance and heaps of funny moments. 

The supporting cast was also very entertaining to read and they added to the creation of a very vibrant story. I loved the complex and detailed presentation of Indian culture. The references to Bollywood, the idiomatic phrases, the food references were abundant and although I'm not very familiar with Indian culture, I didn't find them confusing. On the contrary, I felt that they added authenticity to the story and made all the more intimate and real. 

The author included some current social issues - poverty, arranged (underage) marriages, women's education and rights. They were subtly woven into the text and balanced out nicely the lighter elements in the story. It is a love story at heart, one about the nature of love, the meaning and importance of family. There were some darker undertones related to Samir and Milli's pasts but didn't dominate the story and overall, it was a fun, light read. 

I had only a minor issue (which is generally a pet-peeve of mine) with the virgin sex - its description fitted into the tone of the story, yet I hated how unrealistically it was presented. 

I can recommend this debut romance to anyone who is looking for a contemporary feel-good story with a strong falvour of Indian culture!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo 


Waiting on Wednesday: The Weight of Destiny by Nyrae Dawn


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: The Weight of Destiny
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Genre/Themes: YA/NA, romance, 

Release Date: 18 Nov 2014

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Pre-order link: Amazon


When “crazy” runs in your family and your namesake is known for walking into a river with a pocket full of rocks, a girl kind of wants to avoid tempting fate at all costs. For Virginia Nichols, the only way to dodge that bullet is to be perfect at everything: school, student council, life. Too bad it’s all a lie, and underneath the perfection...Virginia is lost. 

Ryder Blackstock knows a thing or two about being born into fate. The talents passed down from his father aren't exactly normal; instead of learning how to throw a fastball, he was taught to hot-wire a car like a pro and pick any pocket in sight. He’s got criminal blood, just like his old man. And as soon as he turns eighteen, he’ll be living life on the run with his dad.

When Ryder and Virginia meet on the beach, it seems they couldn't be more different. Soon they discover they’re both trapped in their lives—Virginia denying her fate, Ryder embracing his. Like the rocks in Virginia Woolf’s pockets, the weight of their destinies will pull them under. But being together brings out pieces of themselves they didn't know existed—pieces that make them want to take fate into their own hands and rewrite their destinies...if it’s not too late.

*** *** *** 

Why am I waiting for this? - I really enjoyed Ms Dawn Games series (angsty NA romances) and I do love a story about tortured heroes/heroines. The reference to Virginia Woolf in the blurb has me really intrigued. I haven't read any YA in a while and I hope this one will work well for. 


My Take on Queer Romance Month


This is the most difficult and scariest post I've written since I started my blog almost 2 years ago. As a heterosexual woman with very few queer friends in real life (not to say any) and a few more online, I see the LGTB community as something distant and unrelated directly to my life. I read mostly het romances and I've only started reading more queer romance in past couple of months. All this makes me feel like I'm taking a plunge into an unfamiliar territory and I worry of making a major faux-pas and unintentionally offending someone. In order to avoid any of this, I'll keep this post short and simple. 

I heard about QRM through Julio Alexi Genao and Alexis Hall at Goodreads. I was intrigued by this event and I followed it closely. It was an amazing experience for me where I learned a lot from the posts of authors and fans of the genre. 

In general, I don't treat queer romance as different from the other romances I read. I look for the same things I enjoy in het romances - an interesting plot, well developed and authentic characters, passionate love, authentic characters and a happy end. Sometimes I need fun and fluffy, other times I look for more angst and drama, I even go for darker reads from time to time. The gender of the characters doesn't really matter as long as the author manages to get me to care deeply for them and to believe in their love. I do realize that obstacles on the road to happiness can be different for queer characters than for het characters, yet I believe everybody's romantic challenges can be different regardless of their gender. 

As the motto of QRM says Love is Love and I loved how this event drew attention to the fact that there are all kinds of love stories out there and they all deserve to be told and appreciated for their beauty and uniqueness.

Here are just a few of the posts that have touched me the most and stayed with me in one way or another.

Personal stories:
Closets by Julio Alexi Genao- a touching personal story told as one long, beautiful poem
Why we need trans romance by E.E. Ottoman - truly heart-breaking in its honesty and eloquence
Hair, Holding Hands, Harry & Hope by Kat - a moving personal story

Short stories/fiction:
I Just Knew by Anyta Sunday - 3 lovely haikus in prose on love
Under the Bustle by Vanessa North - a cute and fluffy story of a wedding
Shimmer by L. C. Chase - a snippet of a love story that made me excited to read the full novel when it's done

General discussion posts:
Finding the universal in the particular by Joanna Chambers - a thought-provoking piece on reading (romance)
Make Room for Happily Never After by Edmond Manning - a controversial piece on HEA or lack of it in queer romance which provoked an interesting discussion
Sports, the final Frontier by Sarina Bowen - on writing m/m sports romance

On happy endings - probably my favourite topic:
Happily Ever After by Alexis Hall 
and everything by these two authors - it is a must read for me!

You can find links to all QRM posts and related musings HERE.

In principle I don't believe in telling people what they should do or read, for that matter. Instead I'm all for spreading the word and just making others aware that given books, genres and loves stories exist and whoever is curious will find their way to them

Alexi Lawless

Recommended Reads: October 2014


Here are the October picks for my monthly meme with Recommended reads from the previous month.  

I've slowed down my reading a bit due to going back to work full-time, so have only book recommendation this month - Complicated Creatures: Part II by Alexi Lawless.

Genre/Themes: Romantic Suspense, Military
My rating 4.5 stars, review to come
Add on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon

I was contacted by the author, Ms Alexi Lawless, with a request to review the first book in this series back in the summer. I usually don't take such request since I don't really have the time, but something in the blurb of the book told me to make an exception. And I was so glad I did since I ended loving Complicated Creatures: Part I so much that I recommended it to all my friends on GR. It ends with a cliffhanger and I couldn't wait for its sequel. Complicated Creatures: Part II didn't disappoint. It has everything I look for in a good book - competent and strong writing, engaging story and characters, plot twists and turns, passionate love. 

Feel free to share your Recommended Reads from September in the link up tool or the comments. I'll be happy to check them out :)

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