Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review - Because I Love You by Tori Rigby

 About Tori Rigby


Tori Rigby is a YA author of Contemporary and Historical Romances. She longs to live in the Scottish Highlands, and her favorite time and place in history is Medieval England—so much that she'd give up her Internet and running water to go back in time! Tori also writes dark YA fiction as Vicki Leigh.

Find out more at

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Book review

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Review by Anniek

Andie finds herself pregnant after her first time. She is shocked and can't believe that this has happened to her. Andie confides in her best friend and together they go to a clinic to get the pregnancy confirmed. It turns out she actually is pregnant. Andie is sixteen and a cheerleader at her high school. She also wants to get a good education and she has dreams of being a doctor in the future. Having a baby makes her think about all the possibilities she has and what her future will look like now.

Growing up in a religious family doesn't make life any easier for Andie. Andie's father died and since that time her mother has been raising her alone. Andie's mother is a loving and caring person, but Andie is scared to tell her about the baby. When Andie tells her best friend who the father of her baby is instead she turns her back on her. Even the father himself, a boy she grew up with, refuses to take responsibility. The whole school is giving her a hard time and Andie wants nothing more than to hide and never face anyone again.

Neil is Andie's ex-boyfriend. Out of all of the people who she thought would be there for her Neil never crossed her mind. Neil steps up and comforts her whenever Andie needs it. Old feelings resurface and the truth comes out about why Neil broke it off with Andie before. Just when Andie thinks things can't get any worse her life takes another bad turn. Andie will need all the support she can get to keep her feet on the ground and to make a decision about her baby.

Because I Love You is one of the most beautiful stories I have read this year. Andie got pregnant and could have taken the easy way out, but she doesn't. She takes responsibility and doesn't run away from tough decisions. Andie has a really rough time because of the bullying and nasty comments she gets at school. She doesn't deserve any of that, but she keeps her head held high and I admired that about her. Neil is extremely smart and talented. Even though he has been having a hard time at home he still manages to keep his grades up. I felt sorry for everything he has to deal with at this very young age. He captured my heart with his kindness and I admired his strength, because he also could easily have turned bitter and cold.

Tori Rigby has written an emotional story and I felt it deep within my heart. When the end of the story came I was crying. The fact that I am pregnant myself probably wasn't helping. Because I Love You deeply touched me and the story inspires me to be the best person and the best mom I can possibly be.

Review by Suze

Andie is sixteen years old when her best friend convinces her he loves her. After one drunken night with him she's pregnant. When Andie tells him about her pregnancy he makes it obvious he won't be there to support his child. Andie wants to keep the baby and she needs all the help she can get. At school she's being bullied because of her pregnancy. Fortunately she isn't completely alone. She has Neil to support her, the boy she went out with for a month two years before. He screwed up then, but maybe he's back to stay this time...

Andie finds a new friend, one she can rely on. Jill will never betray her trust and she needs a shoulder to cry on and someone to lean on every now and then. When things are progressing with Neil, Andie has some tough choices to make. Especially when she finds out he's keeping something important from her. Can Andie bring up a child while she's still so young herself or is there a different choice she has to make? And what will she do when life gives her another blow?

Because I Love You is an emotional story about a pregnant girl who doesn't have the easiest life. Andie isn't on her own though, there are people who will have her back no matter what. I loved that part of the story. Life can be so unfair sometimes and Andie needs to be strong and resilient to deal with everything that's happening to her. She's such a lovely girl, who's overwhelmed by it all, which is totally understandable. Tori Rigby writes about her feelings in a heartfelt way. I liked how mature her characters are while it's still obvious they are teenagers at the same time.

Because I Love You is a fast-paced page-turner. I read this book in one sitting. Tori Rigby describes everything that's going on in Andie's life in a sensitive and moving way. The main characters of the story are wonderful and sweet. It's easy to care about them. What I enjoyed most about this book is the message that true love can conquer all and that it doesn't matter how old someone is when it comes to being there unconditionally for someone else. I'm a big supporter of stories about this topic and really like that Tori Rigby writes about it in such a confident way. The ending is heartbreaking and beautiful. Because I Love You is sad and hopeful at the same time with many emotions in between, it's a story that will bring on a lot of different feelings.

Book Review - Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis

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Review by Suze
 
Pru loves her job, she's the captain of a tour boat and she works for her best friend. Recently she's moved into a new apartment and she enjoys her independence. Her home is close to a pub and Pru spends a lot of time there. She isn't a heavy drinker, but she's going for the view instead, she's interested in the gorgeous man behind the bar. Finn is into Pru from the start. Her cheerful personality and good looks keep drawing him to her. Pru thinks she can never be involved with him though and knows she should stay away, but she can't seem to do it.
 
 When Pru plants a dart into Finn's chest he needs help with the wound. It's the perfect moment for them to get to know each other better. From then on they are inseparable. Pru has a secret, there's something she doesn't dare to tell Finn, because she's afraid he'll leave her once he knows. Will her wish for him to find true love and happiness come true and does that mean she has to let him go for good?
 
Sweet Little Lies is a wonderful romantic story. Pru and Finn are perfect for each other. They have a deep connection as well as great chemistry. There's only one problem, Pru has known who Finn is for a very long time, but he doesn't know who she is and has no idea about her past. Pru should tell him, but the closer they become the more difficult it is for her to give him up. My heart ached for her. She's got such a heartwarming personality and deserves better. Her kindness knows no limits, which is something I loved about her. Finn is caring and protective and he's a real sweetheart. He's also guarded and doesn't love easily. Pru doesn't know what he will do when he finds out the truth. He can easily get the thick walls that she's so carefully broken down back into place. Things are bound to go wrong and Jill Shalvis plays with that tension. I loved the controlled way she does that, her timing is perfect.
 
Sweet Little Lies is a story that touched my heart. Pru's innocence and dedication are admirable. Finn is dreamy and his sense of duty makes him a real gentleman. One of my favorite characters was Thor, Pru's willful dog. He has a fantastic personality and his actions constantly made me laugh. I enjoyed reading about the pub and the regular customers as well. Every aspect of this story is exactly as it should be and reading it put a big smile on my face.
 
Jill Shalvis knows how to write romantic stories. Her characters are easy to love and I always enjoy the warmth in her scenes. The relationships are substantial and she knows the meaning of true love, unbreakable bonds and deep connections. Her stories always manage to enchant me. I love the beautiful way she writes and her vivid descriptions of settings and people are making the stories come to life very well. Sweet Little Lies is another strong novel. It's a fabulous start of a series and I will definitely keep following it.

Someone Like Him by Ann Herrick - Book Review & Giveaway


About Ann Herrick


Ann Herrick is the award-winning author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Included in the awards her books have won are the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers, IRA/CBC Children’s Choice and EPIC Best YA Novel Finalist.

Ann grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-Rottweiler-beagle mix and six grand-kitties. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking, the Oregon Ducks and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards.

Ann Herrick loves to hear from her readers. You can find her here:

Website: http://annherrickauthor.com  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ann.herrick
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ann_herrick
Blog: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewblog.asp?AuthorID=841  
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/507620.Ann_Herrick

Book review

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Review by Anniek

Emily is a city girl. She is used to the luxury and comfort that living in the city brings her. When her parents are going on their second honeymoon they decide that Emily will spend a part of her summer with her uncle and aunt. They live in the country with their daughter Janelle. The two girls couldn't be more different, but they've always managed to get along in the past. Emily isn't looking forward to her new plans for the summer, but she doesn't have any other options.

Janelle is a sweet country girl. She is used to being outdoors, she loves to go on hiking trips and she picks her family's own fruit from the orchards. Going fishing isn't unusual for her and swimming in the lake is really refreshing in the summer. Janelle is a good daughter and also very nice to all the people around her. She secretly has a crush on a boy she's grown up with. Does he like her back and will she have a good summer?

When Janelle's father decides that it will be great to go camping with the whole family including Janelle's friends things are really looking up. Will Emily be able to adjust to being outdoors or will she fail miserably?

Someone Like Him is a fun story about a big city girl who meets a country boy. Emily has a little bit of trouble getting used to her surroundings, but she really takes it like a champ. Even though everything is not as luxurious as Emily would like she doesn't whine about it and tries to see the positive every time. I liked that a lot about her. I am not an outdoor person myself, so I perfectly understood how Emily must have felt sometimes. Luckily teens seem to be able to adjust very easily most of the time and that was also the case for Emily.

Ann Herrick has chosen perfect characters for her story. They all sound like real teenagers. This is a perfect book to choose as a holiday read for your teen. Another thing I loved about this story is that it took me back many years ago, to when I was a teenager myself. Thinking about all the camping trips I went on with my grandfather and grandmother. Someone Like Him made me remember the great times I had back then. If you are looking for a sweet and fun read then you should really give Someone Like Him a try.

Giveaway

Ann Herrick will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner at the end of the tour.
 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review & Excerpt - Summer at the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson

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Review by Tanya

Laura Walker applies to the strange advert by Cherie, who's requesting a letter from the heart regarding a summer job at her Comfort Food Cafe in Dorset. Laura decides to be open and honest and writes down her tragic story. She tells Cherie about the sad events of the past year and the loss of her childhood sweetheart, who later became her husband and the father to her children. Cherie thinks a change of scenery will be good for her son and daughter. This is the start of a new adventure, which hopefully will bring back some sunshine in the life of her children.
 
  Laura has been through a lot and I really felt for her, for the situation that she finds herself in. She has lost her direction in life and is not coping very well. She sees the opportunity of going to Dorset and working for Cherie as a chance to find herself again and to put a plan in place for the future of her family. The children, fourteen-year-old Lizzie and twelve-year-old Nate, are not happy at the prospect of leaving the exciting city life, and thus spending the summer with their friends, behind. A lot of things happen to them during their stay in Dorset including friendship, confidence, attraction and lots of lovely sunshine. Will they want to leave at the end? Will it all turn out ok for Laura and her children?

Initially when I read the first chapter I wondered where the fun would be in this story, but sometimes you have to have a sad side in contrast to the fun and the humour. In some ways Laura reminded me of myself as she is prone to funny and strange things happening in her life, such as a hilarious underwear incident, which had me laughing out loud.

I liked how Debbie does not describe the children as being angels. Instead she shows that they're finding things hard and are struggling to come to terms with the changes in their life. As the story develops you can see a thaw in the relationship between Laura and her daughter Lizzie. This helps with the decision the family has to make at the end of the book. 

All the characters in Summer at the Comfort Food Café are fantastic and I liked how they each have a unique background story, while they're also playing a big part together in the daily life at the café. It shows how important the café is, not just to the locals but to visitors of the area as well. Each person has their own need for comfort and food. 

Debbie has done it again with this great book. She has managed to capture the characters in a great way, so that they stand out and although there are serious parts in the story the humour and goodness shines through. I was firstly attracted to the book because of the cover and the title, after all who doesn’t like a bit of comfort food? This story has it by the bucket load. I wonder what your comfort food would be and what would trigger it? I think mine would have to be a nice cheese pie, followed by apple pie and custard. I loved thinking about the café and the food and really enjoyed reading this special story.
 
Excerpt

The cove is surrounded by towering cliff tops and boulders that run from the bottom of the cliffs about twenty feet out into the sand. People are using them to sit on or drape clothes on to dry in the sun, and a few people are investigating the rock pools hopefully, looking out for crabs and creatures. At high tide the waterline undoubtedly comes all the way over, and I can see the dark, mossy marks left on the cliffs.

A path leads up from the side of the car park to the top of the hill. It’s steep and I fan myself with my fingers, which is totally useless against the midday heat. I’m not thrilled at the thought of climbing that path, but I have to. Because up the hill lies the Comfort Food Café, and Cherie Moon, and my new job, and, well, a free lunch. So I usher the kids in that direction, promising them a dip in the sea later, and we start the upwards trek.

The path actually has low steps cut into it and a wooden handrail, so it’s not quite as arduous as it looks. I see that over on the far side of the hill, there’s a more meandering path that’s been paved over, presumably so people can also make the Comfort Food pilgrimage if they have a pram or a wheelchair.

Near the top, by what is obviously meant to be a little viewing station, we pause. Not just to catch our breath – which is definitely a factor for me – but to admire the vista. It is pretty amazing, and Lizzie is silently taking photos already.

It feels a bit like we may have reached the edge of the world – all we can see is that glorious stretch of glittering blue-green water colliding with red and brown cliffs; dots of colour as back-packed walkers amble along high-up footpaths, patches of yellow sand getting smaller and smaller as they become more distant, curving off around the coastline.

The sun is shining down on my skin, I can hear the birds and the laughter and the waves, and I feel a moment of complete and utter peace. A rare sense that everything will be all right in our family’s fractured little world. I close my eyes and turn my face to the sky and smile.

‘You all right, mum?’ Nate asks, poking me curiously in the side. ‘You’re not having a stroke or anything, are you?’

I laugh and shake my head, and gesture that we should carry on to the top, where we can now very clearly see our destination.

Lizzie bounds ahead like a mountain goat in a Nirvana T-shirt, clicking away. She turns back to face us and takes a picture of me as I smile up at her. She even smiles back – a proper smile, big and warm and genuine – and I take a solid hold of the railing to stop myself falling down in shock.

And at the very top, I see it. An archway built over the path, of wrought iron decorated with beautifully forged metallic roses, a kind of man-made trellis, painted in shades of red and green. Amid the roses and the leaves and the stems are carefully crafted words, made up of curling letters, all painted white.

‘Welcome to the Comfort Food Café.’

Want to read more? Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson is just 99p on Amazon UK and $0.99 on Amazon US!

Book Review - The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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Review by Suze
 
Clover's mother had no idea she was pregnant and Clover was a complete surprise. Unfortunately she passed away when Clover was still a little girl. Now it's just Clover and her dad, Darren. Clover has a lot of questions, she wants to know more about her mother. Asking her father to talk about something that makes him sad is difficult though. Instead she's going through her mother's things during her summer holiday. She tries to find the meaningful pieces and makes an exhibit of them.
 
Darren has to raise Clover by himself and that isn't always easy. He doesn't know everything there is to know about girls, but he tries because he loves his daughter very much. He's a bus driver whose life didn't turn out the way he planned, but he's usually trying to be happy with what he's been given. For Clover it's time to get some answers, but he has no idea what she's working on and that she's ready to know the full story. Will he be able to tell her? Clover should finally have her complete picture, but it might not be as rose-colored as she thought it would be...

The Museum of You is an amazing creative story. I loved the fact that Carys Bray combines the voices of a child and an adult. It felt like a privilege to get to know both Clover and her father. Not having a mother deeply influences Clover's life. She doesn't know much about her and has a lot of questions. She tries to find answers by going through her mother's things. Slowly she gets information about the woman who brought her into the world. Carys Bray describes that process in a compelling and sensitive way. The story isn't only in the words, it's everywhere, which makes it wonderfully touching.

Clover makes a museum by herself and she's serious about her approach. She and her father have to find a new equilibrium now that she's getting older. Darren and Clover are both kindhearted and loving and I enjoyed reading Carys Bray's enchanting explanations of their thoughts and feelings. The way Carys Bray describes their world made me notice how special ordinary objects and situations can be and it was a precious gift to be allowed to see through her eyes. There's so much value in the little things people often forget to notice. I loved her meaningful descriptions of details that are important to someone somewhere, she makes everything more fascinating. Her writing magnetized me and I forgot everything that happened around me. I love it when a book has to much impact and I highly recommend this impressive story.

Where's Albert? Amazing Contest - Excerpt & Book Review


Carrying Albert Home is one of my all time favorite books. It's a wonderful story about a man and a woman who are going on a road trip together with their alligator Albert to take him back to a place where he can grow up freely.

The blog tour will be 5 bloggers, 5 days, 5 extracts and all linked to a daily Twitter competition asking #WheresAlbert?

The @W6BookCafe is running the competitions from their twitter account. From the extracts you can find out where Albert is on each day of the tour. If you've guessed correctly you have a chance to win amazing prizes.

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Review by Suze

 Homer is a miner who’s married to Elsie, who is the woman for him. She doesn’t like his profession and wants a more exciting life. She used to have all that with a man called Buddy. He’s the one who sent them an alligator as a wedding present. The alligator’s name is Albert and Elsie’s very fond of him, but Albert can’t stay with them. He needs to be taken back to Orlando as that will be a more suitable place for him to live. Carrying Albert home means going on a road trip. Homer and Elsie are traveling through America by car and they meet all sorts of interesting and unique people.

Homer, Elsie, Albert and the rooster, who's also accompanying them, often find themselves in dire situations and they don't always come out unscathed either. The dynamics between Homer and Elsie are constantly shifting and it was interesting to see them interact together. Albert is an alligator who's also attached to people, the right kind mainly. I could easily picture him in his bathtub and his behavior often made me laugh.

I enjoyed reading this book so much because of the originality of the story, it's certainly special and everything about the idea works. Homer and Elsie make an unusual couple. Homer is happy with his existence, but Elsie is not. They’re both resourceful which is something they need as they find themselves in all kinds of situations on the road. It was so much fun to read about their meetings with famous and not so famous people, the jobs they kept finding by accident and the chaotic messes they had to find a way out of. Of course they always had to take care of Albert and his companion, the rooster. I loved the irony of it all and read this whole book with a big smile on my face.

For me Carrying Albert Home is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Homer Hickam has a wonderful warm writing style. His sentences are beautiful and his colorful imaginative descriptions make this story come to life very well. I enjoyed this adventurous story so much that I didn’t want it to end at all. I could have kept on reading and will definitely read it again. I highly recommend this fantastic book, it's a real treasure.
 
 
Excerpt

captain oscar’s boarding house, which sat beside an ocean sound, was surrounded by pin oaks dripping with Spanish moss. It was a lovely old manse built of cedar planks weathered gray, with a roof covered with slate shingles, and a front porch boasting a swing and a dozen rocking chairs. The front yard consisted of sand, saw grass, and sea oats and abutted a well-maintained wooden dock with iron cleats for the one boat that was most often moored there, a fishing trawler named the Dorothy Howard. The Dorothy, as she was affectionately known, was a working boat and fair sailer although not one you’d want to broach up too far in a steep sea and stiff wind. Captain Bob, her skip- per, knew all her idiosyncrasies and tricks and treated her like he would treat a generous great-aunt, which is to say with deference and respect.

The boardinghouse required help, and a sign to that effect greeted Elsie on the morning of her arrival. She straightened her shoulders, fluffed up her hair, smoothed her skirt, and knocked on the door. A man dressed in the formal clothing of a sea captain, that is to say a navy blue

coat, matching pants, and a white-brimmed cap, came to the door.

Elsie pointed at the sign. “Whatever you might need,” she said, “I can

provide if the pay is suitable.”

The man leaned on his cane and stumped out on the porch, there to observe the Buick. Homer was resting, his eyes closed, on the passenger side, and Albert was looking with eager interest through the open win- dow on the same side. The rooster stood on the alligator’s head. “Quite a menagerie you got there.”

“It is, sir, and I’m responsible for the lot. My husband’s hand is crushed and his wrist is broken but he’s not applying for this job. I am.”

“Why do you have an alligator?”

“We hail from the West Virginia coalfields, an unsuitable place for an alligator, or anyone for that matter. I am therefore carrying him home to Florida. He was a gift to me from Buddy Ebsen of Orlando, the movie actor and dancer.”

“I saw a movie once in Chicago,” the man said, wistfully. “It was si- lent although there was a piano player on the stage.” He approached the Buick and inspected Homer. “He is sweating and his face is pale. I think he is very sick.”

“His hand is infected,” Elsie explained. “I know that because I was once a nurse.”

The man yelled, “Hey, Bob, get up here!” and a bearded young man, dressed in working khakis and a seaman’s cap, walked up from the dock. “Fetch us the sawbones, Bob. And toot sweet, you hear? This young man may be dying.”

“Who do we have here, pops?”

“Never mind that now. Take Wilma and be off with you!”

“Bob” tipped his hat to Elsie, went into a shed, and came back out riding a brown mare. He proceeded to clip-clop up the road Elsie hadblundered down the night before. “That’s Captain Bob, my son,” the

man said. “I shall introduce you to him at length but first things first. I am Captain Oscar, the owner of this establishment. Now, let’s see to your husband.”

Elsie and Captain Oscar helped Homer inside and laid him on a couch in the parlor. “Tell me how you feel, Homer,” Elsie said in a cold voice. She felt no sympathy toward him, only responsibility.

Homer didn’t reply. He didn’t even moan. He only looked at her with glassy, uncomprehending eyes.

“How did he hurt himself?” Captain Oscar asked.

“He was struck with a baseball bat,” Elsie answered, “and life. They don’t always go together but this time they did.”

An hour later, the doctor arrived in a chuggy old Ford and went in- side to see his patient. After his examination, he asked, “Who speaks for this man?”

“I do, sir,” Elsie said. “He is my husband.”

“His hand and wrist are terribly infected and the infection has reached into his arm. If there is no improvement by tomorrow, I will have to take it off.” The doctor handed her a bottle. “These are aspirin. Every three hours, give him two. They will lower his temperature. The infection he’ll have to fight off on his own.”

“He is a coal miner,” Elsie said, her pride overcoming for the moment her anger, “and therefore strong.”

“Bacteria has a way of taking down the strongest of men,” the doctor said as he strapped his black bag shut. “But on the morrow, we shall see what we shall see.”

Homer was moved to a downstairs bedroom, the second on the left, and then Captain Oscar, who was one of those men of indeterminate age



who might be anywhere between seventy and ninety, bade Elsie sit with him in the parlor for a while. “You wish for a job,” he said. “I have an opening. It is a maid’s job.”

“I can be a maid,” Elsie said. “I have always wanted to be a maid.” “And it is a cook’s job.”

“I can be a cook,” Elsie said. “I have always wanted to be a cook.” “And it is a manager’s job.” He waved his hand to indicate the dusty

parlor and its somewhat mildewed furniture. “My wife ran this place until she died and then my daughter Grace took over until she came down with the tuberculosis. Now it has fallen into the general state of disrepair you presently observe. Would you be willing to be the maid, the cook, and the manager of my boardinghouse? I cannot pay you other than room and board until we become more prosperous but then I will give you a percentage of the net, to be negotiated later. What do you say?”

“I have always wanted to be the manager of a boardinghouse,” Elsie swore and stuck out her hand. Captain Oscar shook her hand and Elsie became the maid, cook, and manager of Captain Oscar’s Boarding House, an establishment dedicated to clean rooms and fine food, espe- cially if it was fish.

The next day, the doctor returned as promised and examined Homer’s arm. Homer continued to be generally unresponsive, although when the doctor ran his hand up and down his arm, he flinched. “The arm has not improved,” the doctor announced. “I shall need to cut it off.”

“You shall do no such thing,” Elsie declared, then transitioned into a nursely description of what she had observed the night before while, out of a sense of responsibility, she had tended to her husband even though she could scarcely stand the sight of him. “Although his arm has notimproved much, it has improved some. I can tell by a subtle color change

that may not be apparent to you. I didn’t rest at all last night. I gave my husband his aspirin but also kept him cool by dipping a towel in ice water and placing it across his brow, a procedure I’m surprised you didn’t prescribe.”

“It did not occur to me that you had ice,” the doctor said.

“I found some in the icebox where the fish is kept fresh. Now, I think what should be done is that you remove the cast, which has become nasty and is too tight, and put on a clean one a bit looser.”

The doctor was affronted. “Madam, I am a graduate of a state- approved medical school and have years of experience. I assure you that if I don’t amputate your husband’s arm, he will be dead within a couple of days.”

“He will keep his arm,” Elsie said, resolutely, “and if he is dead as a result, I will admit that you were right.”

The doctor regarded Elsie, his frown changing to an expression of consternation. “You are a pigheaded child,” he said, “who is gambling with this man’s life.”

“He is my husband,” Elsie replied, “and if a wife can’t gamble with her husband’s life, then what’s a marriage for?”

“You have an interesting take on marriage,” the doctor replied, but then opened his black bag and removed a saw and a little sack of plaster. “I shall give him a new cast, as you wish.”

“And I will help you,” Elsie said. “You see, I have training as a nurse.” Afterward, as the doctor put his saw and the empty plaster sack back into his black bag, he said, “Pray that he is stronger than I perceive. I will

not return unless sent for.”

“I doubt that will be necessary,” Elsie replied.

The doctor’s face was pinched. “Then good day to you, Madam.”

Over the next few days, Elsie plied Homer with the occasional aspi-

rin and kept him cool by wiping him down with ice water every hour. After the fish ice ran out, she drove the Buick five miles up the road to the icehouse and bought more on Captain Oscar’s credit.

Captain Oscar was impressed by her constant attention. “You must love your husband very much,” he said while holding a kerosene lantern aloft in the middle of the night to assist her in her ministrations.

“I could have saved my brother Victor if I’d brought ice to him,” Elsie said while wiping Homer down. “A fever will not catch me unawares again. If this man was the worst villain in the world, Captain, I would do no less.”

It took two days but finally came a break in Homer’s fever. The swell- ing in his arm and wrist and hand receded and the angry red streaks dissolved. While Elsie was tending to him, he blinked once, then stared at her. “Hello, Elsie,” he said. “I’m pretty cold.”

“Hello, Homer,” Elsie replied. “You had a fever but I’ve saved you with the application of ice.” She dipped a towel in the pan of ice water and raised it up so Homer could see.

“You still couldn’t have saved Victor,” he said.

“So you say,” she answered and turned his face to the window and its view of the sandy road lined by pin oaks. “Look how lovely this place is. I brought you here.”

“Where are we?”

“In South Carolina along the coast.” “We are off course.”

“I am now plotting our course. You have abrogated that responsibil- ity.”

Homer raised his ruined hand and wiggled his fingers. “It works,” he

said, “but not well.”

“It will get better,” Elsie said, “and that’s all you have to do for now,

let yourself get better. In the meantime, I will provide.” He gazed at her. “You seem angry.”

“I am angry. I will forever be angry. You said I did not deserve the money I earned. You did not back me up when I needed you.”

Homer frowned as if trying to recall, then said, “But that’s the way I felt.”

Elsie dumped the pan of ice water on Homer’s lap. “And this is how I feel.”

Elsie left Homer with his mouth open to object or ask more questions—she didn’t care which—and got busy cleaning the boarding- house from top to bottom.

 About Homer Hickam

From the bestselling author of Rocket Boys comes a long awaited prequel. BIG FISH meets THE NOTEBOOK in this somewhat true story of a woman, a husband and her alligator. In 1930s America, the Great Depression made everyone’s horizons smaller, and Elsie Lavender found herself back where she began, in the coalfields of West Virginia. She had just one memento of her halcyon days – a baby alligator named Albert.

Then one day, her husband’s stoical patience snapped and Elsie had to choose between Homer and Albert. She decided that there was only one thing to do: they would carry Albert home to Florida. And so began their odyssey – a journey like no other, where Elsie, Homer and Albert encountered everything from movie stars and revolutionaries to Ernest Hemingway and hurricanes in their struggle to find love, redemption, and a place to call home.

Homer Hickam is probably known best for his no. 1 New York Times bestselling memoir Rocket Boys which was adapted into the ever-popular move October Sky. Mr. Hickam has been a coal miner, Vietnam combat veteran, scuba instructor, NASA engineer and now a best-selling author.

Notes

 CARRYING ALBERT HOME was originally written as memoir like the author’s previous book, but in conversation with his editor, decided to turn it into fiction.

It is being published by HarperCollins globally in over ten languages.

 Homer Hickam’s childhood memoir Rocket Boys (published by 4th Estate) has sold more than a million copies domestically. It has been translated into eight languages and received many awards. It was selected by the New York Times as one of its Great Books of 1998, and was the basis for the film OCTOBER SKY starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Jr.
 
Buy the paperback of Carrying Albert Home, it's absolutely fantastic.

A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel

Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze
 
Penny's first love has always been the theater. She loves being the center of attention and has the most fun when she has a big part in a play. She has a loyal group of friends who are just like her. Her best friend, Wes, is especially important to her and there might be more between them. While her life at school is going well for Penny things at home are rapidly going downhill. Because of this she takes a rash decision which changes the course of her life entirely.
 
Penny does no longer spend time with her theater friends and now has a new best friend, Kylie. Kylie seems to get her and Penny doesn't have to talk about the difficult things in her life to be understood. She misses the stage, but she has found other ways to spend her free time. When a terrible accident nearly kills Penny she loses part of her memory, the past year. She can't remember her new friends and doesn't know how she lost her old ones. Will Penny be able to find out the truth about herself and will she be able to share her memories with the people who care about her when she does?
 
A Season for Fireflies is a beautiful, moving story. Penny doesn't want anyone to know what's going on inside her. She's closed off and doesn't want to share the bad things, so she can pretend everything is great. Her friends know that something is going on, because part of Penny's story has been in the papers, but as she doesn't talk they don't know what it is exactly. I could feel her pain, her struggles and her heartbreak. Rebecca Maizel has described these feelings in the exact right way. Her writing is impressive and sensitive and she definitely knows what she's talking about. The tears were streaming down my face when I read about Penny's situation. I was completely overwhelmed by how well the author portrays her emotions, her descriptions are spot-on.
 
 Penny is an incredibly strong girl. She's actually much too tough on herself which leads to a lot of difficulties. Rebecca Maizel describes them in a realistic and heartfelt way. She plays with tension and that meant I kept being curious about what would happen next. A Season for Fireflies is a fast-paced story. It's filled with meaningful scenes. I think this book is absolutely amazing. You often have no idea what happens behind closed doors. This story is an impressive example of the problems difficulties at home can cause in someone's life. Penny needs to find a way to deal with hers and even though her journey is far from easy she will learn how to manage eventually. I loved the wisdom she gathers along the way. A Season for Fireflies is a fantastic mix of compassion, honesty, sadness and hope.

Her Australian Hero by Margaret Way - Book Review & Giveaway


About Margaret Way
 
 
USA Today bestselling author Margaret Way has written more than 130 books, many of them International Bestsellers. She has been published in 114 countries and 34 languages. Her novels are set in her beloved Australia, where she was born and lives to this day. Her stories always contain the beauty and rugged nature of the rural and Outback Australia, as well as the rainforests and coral reefs of Northern Queensland.

Find out more at


Book review

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Anniek

Alexandra, Alex for short, is helping her father to get Lavender Hill back on track. Alex knows that the big mango and lychee plantation will once be hers. Her mother married her father against the wishes of her grandparents. Her grandparents made sure that her father wouldn't have any hold on Lavender Hill after their deaths. Alex's mother followed their wishes in her will. Her father is allowed live at Lavender Hill until he dies and Alex will then inherit the plantation.

Alex and her brother looked up to Rafe when they were children and they followed him around everywhere. Rafe lives on, and now also owns, the plantation next door. He is a very successful businessman. When they were teens Alex's brother died in a tragic accident. Rafe tried to save him, but didn't succeed. Since that day Alex has never felt like she is good enough. Her father loved her brother with all his heart and ever since losing him he doesn't have any love left for his daughter.

Alex and Rafe are both heartbroken and they still have nightmares about the accident. Alex's father has remarried and his new wife is a gold digger. She and Alex don't get along and her stepmother is willing to do anything to get under Alex's skin. When her father dies during a reckless ride on a quad bike Alex is the only one left. It turns out she could use all the help she can get. Her stepmother isn't very patient and moves in immediately to let Alex know that she is going for everything she can get. Alex needs Rafe now more than ever. Is she able to let Rafe in again?

Alex and Rafe are both very strong and loyal people. They are very attracted to one another but Alex is afraid to let him get close. She feels the need to do everything by herself at first. I found her an even stronger person when she finally allows other people near her. I loved the way she and Rafe care for each other. Rafe is gorgeous, successful, kind and loving. He puts others before himself and I instantly liked him. I could easily imagine how Alex and her brother used to think of him as their hero.

I always get intrigued when I read about how far people are willing to go when there is money involved. Love will get you much further. How people can be lead by such awful greed is completely lost on me. I liked the way this aspect of the story is being told and of course I wanted to know the outcome as soon as possible.

Margaret Way describes the surroundings and the plantation so well. I was almost feeling the bright, burning sun and I wanted to try out those delicious mangos. Her Australian Hero is a great story. It has a mystery involved, but in the end what it all comes down to is love. This story is supposed to be the first in a new series by Margaret Way and I will definitely keep an eye out for the second book, because I can't wait to read more.

Giveaway

One winner will receive digital copies of all four books that are included in this tour, Her Australian Hero by Margaret Way, Ready to Fall by Olivia Dade, Heartland by Sara Walter Ellwood and Her Unexpected Affair by Shea McMaster.

You can follow to tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/06/blurb-blitz-lyrical-press-contemporary.html. To have a better chance at winning you'll be encouraged to leave a comment. The more comments you leave, the better your chances are at winning. Good Luck!
 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts - Interview, Book Review & Giveaway

About Caroline Roberts
 

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home - sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.

Find me on Twitter @_caroroberts

Interview
      
1) Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hi Suze, I love writing and reading, and have wanted to be a novelist for years. I finally got my break with Harper Collins in 2015 with my debut novel The Torn Up Marriage. I’m a normal mum with two grown-up children, a dog who I love to walk, and I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world in Northumberland, England - stunning countryside, golden sandy beaches, castles, and wild moorland.

2) The Cosy Teashop in the Castle is a great book about the loveliest fictional tea shop I can imagine. What inspired you to create it?

 
My friend ran the tea rooms at Chillingham Castle for many years. It’s a couple of miles away from my home in Northumberland. It’s just an amazing, quirky, historic place, and I could imagine a Teashop dream coming true there, and a beautiful love story too.

3) Are you good at baking and what’s your favourite kind of cake?

I have to admit I’m not the best baker. I do try, but my sponges often end up with peaks like volcanos! But I love to eat home baking. My favourite cake? I love a nice Victoria sponge with fresh cream and fruit, such as raspberries and strawberries on. But I’m happy to chomp away at a good chocolate or carrot or coffee and walnut cake, brownies, lemon drizzle, caramel shortcake, meringues. I’m not fussy really!

4) Which 3 things do you like best about Ellie? And which 3 things do you like best about Joe?

Ellie – I like her courage to strive for her dream of running her own teashop.

I like her honesty and warmth.

I like her love and respect for her Nanna.

Joe – his sense of humour.

That he’s sexy and handsome but not arrogant.

He’s sensitive, but tries to hide that.

5) Is the teashop inspired by an actual teashop and/or castle?


Yes, Chillingham Castle in Northumberland. It’s a beautiful, old stone castle set in the most gorgeous countryside. If you go there the teashop is very similar in description to that place. A close friend ran the tea rooms there for seven years and I went there often. I even worked “undercover” as a waitress for a day when I was writing the book, so I really knew what it would be like.

6) What are your 3 favourite books about cakes and/or food?

Cake books – anything by Mary Berry. She’s a cake and baking legend.

The Dairy Book of Home Cookery – a traditional cook book my mother bought me back in the 90s. I still use the recipes from that today; there’s a particularly nice fruit crumble recipe.

I love cooking foreign food from scratch, making thai pastes and everything. I have a well-used book: Australian Women’s Weekly Thai-Style Cookery. I do a great King Prawn and Pineapple Curry from that.

7) What’s your best cake related memory?


Cooking the Choffee Cake Recipe in my kitchen with my friend, Julie, (who is the lady who ran the tearooms). I knew what I wanted the cake to look like, but had no idea how to bake it. Julie brought it to life and I helped to decorate it. It was fab and just how I wanted it to look, and taste, in the end!

8) Could you tell a bit more about your writing? For example where you write, how long you write, how long it took to get a publishing deal, etc.

I write at home, mostly in my conservatory, sometimes in the kitchen, and occasionally in bed! I write longhand on A4 lined paper first, a scene at a time generally. Then I edit on to the laptop a day or so later.

It took me a long time to get a publishing deal! I was writing novels as a hobby at first, then was submitting to agents initially and then publishers. It took about ten years in all, I had many rejections and it was quite tough at times. Sheer perseverance and my love of writing kept me going.

9) Ellie’s grandmother is the person who inspires her to bake. There’s a special connection between her and Ellie, could you tell a bit more about that?

I think there is often someone special in your life who influences you. For Ellie it was her Nanna, who sadly had died recently. Nanna loved baking, and was an inspiration, working hard and looking after her family, teaching Ellie how to bake. She would have wanted Ellie to go for her dream, and take that chance in life, and that spurred Ellie on.

10) What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever seen/experienced?

When we were engaged, my husband and I were 450 miles apart for three years as I was Durham University and he was working down on the Dorset Coast in the South of England. One day, he drove 450 miles each way on his day off just to see me for one night. That was pretty romantic.

11) What does romance mean to you?

Love, support, family, being there for each other in good times and in bad. Being kind, and thinking about that other person instead of yourself.

12) What’s the best pie/cake you’ve ever eaten? And the worst?

I love a meringue that’s crunchy, melts in your mouth, then is chewy in the middle too, with fresh clotted cream (from Cornwall) and raspberries – that takes some beating.

Worst – probably one of the children’s creations when they were little, when you have to eat it to be polite and encouraging! Actually, this isn’t quite cake but a real story, one Mothers’ Day I heard my children in the kitchen discussing what to put on my toast that they were making and bringing up for my breakfast in bed. One said marmite the other jam, then I heard a voice saying why not both… I was really hoping they didn’t put it on together!!

13) Who’s your favourite author and why?

I have several. The world is full of fabulous books and authors. Some of my favourite contemporary authors are Jojo Moyes, Maggie O’Farrell, Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), Sebastian Faulks, and Rowan Coleman. I also love Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and CS Lewis – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

One novel that has stayed with me and I’ve re-read several times is The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s such a beautiful love story, and the concept that the hero could time travel made their relationship so much more complicated and poignant. I don’t usually read novels with science fiction/fantasy type concepts, but this just felt so real – all credit to the author. The characters were so well written, and the emotions beautifully portrayed.

14) What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently writing a Christmas follow up for The Cosy Teashop in the Castle – watch this space for Autumn/Christmas 2016!

I have also written a poignant love story, set in two cottages on the beautiful Bamburgh Beach on the Northumberland Coast near to me – a story about hurt, healing and making the most of every moment in life, with a fabulous main character who is recovering from breast cancer.
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze
 
Ellie doesn't like her office job very much. Her dream is to bake cakes for a living. When she sees that Claverham Castle is looking for someone new to run their teashop she does everything she can to get the lease. It means less security, but she will be able to do what she loves. The castle needs a lot of money for maintenance, which is why they're trying to attract visitors. The manager, Joe, is a nice guy with good business sense, but he does need to convince the owner over and over again. Lord Henry likes his solitude and isn't happy with the visitors at all. They need them to save his castle though. Ellie needs as many customers as possible as well to make a success of her teashop. Together with Joe she tries to come up with a plan to make some extra profit. Working together proves to be a lot more fun than she anticipated and there are definitely sparks. Only Joe is her boss, so they shouldn't get involved, should they?
 
The Cosy Teashop in the Castle is a warm and sweet story. I loved the beautiful setting. What's more perfect for a romantic story than a slightly crumbling castle? The food descriptions made my mouth water. Caroline Roberts makes the teashop come to life really well because of the delicious cakes she writes about and the detailed descriptions of the castle and its grounds. Ellie is a lovely girl. She's kind, optimistic and cheerful. Joe can be welcoming and caring one day and moody the next, which is quite confusing. There's a reason for his behavior, but Ellie doesn't know about it at first. He doesn't normally share anything about himself, but Ellie is different and that scares him. It was great to read the same story from two points of view.
 
Caroline Roberts knows how to tell a story. Her writing is vivid and imaginative which is exactly what a story like this needs. It's a heartwarming read with some surprising elements. I liked the ending very much, but wasn't ready for it to come. I could have read about life in the castle for many more hours. Another thing I enjoyed reading about was Ellie's love for her grandmother. They had such a special connection. It's the precious details that made me fall in love with this book. Ellie and her grandmother used to share their passion for cooking and baking and the recipes at the end are a nice extra for the reader. This novel is so wonderful, friendly and cozy, I liked that a lot.
 
Giveaway
 
 
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

A Man of Honor by Miranda Liasson

 

About Miranda Liasson
 

Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a former Golden Heart winner who writes series romance for Entangled Publishing and lighthearted contemporary romance for Montlake Publishing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.

Author Media Links

Author Website: http://www.mirandaliasson.com/
Author Blog: http://www.mirandaliasson.com/blog/
Author Twitter: : https://twitter.com/mirandaliasson
Author Facebook: : https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLiassonAuthor
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10716626.Miranda_Liasson
Newsletter: http://www.mirandaliasson.com/#mailing-list
 
Book review
 
Amazon USA Amazon UK
 
Review by Suze
 
For Cat there's only one man, she loves her brother's best friend Preston. Cat hasn't been lucky when it comes to relationships. She was abandoned by her fiancé shortly before their wedding. After that she found comfort with Preston, but he was far away. They became close, but their relationship couldn't become physical. Then Preston returned from his army mission, injured and traumatized. Cat wanted to be there for him, but he pushed her away, going through his recovery process on his own. After a period of intensive rehab he's back again for a wedding they both play an important part in. They have to be able to be civilized to one another, because they will be spending quite a lot of time together.
 
When Cat visits Preston to talk things through they give in to their attraction, but they don't get very far, because Cat's brother catches them. To avoid his anger Preston tells him he's dating Cat. This isn't true at all, instead he wants to keep Cat at a distance. His troubled childhood and the pain caused by his injury are keeping him away from her. Preston is convinced Cat deserves someone better, someone undamaged. She isn't ready to give up though. Will Preston finally listen to his heart or will he keep resisting the woman he's meant to be with?
 
A Man of Honor is an impressive love story. Preston has been through a lot and he didn't come out of it unscathed. He has many problems and one of them is his leg injury which is causing constant pain. He's a beautiful, strong man, who's also vulnerable. He needs love, but he is afraid to let anyone in. Cat is cheerful and optimistic. After she lost her job and her fiancé she's trying to get her life back on track again. She's a sweetheart and it's impossible not to like her. Preston and Cat have great chemistry and it's obvious they belong together. Preston keeps pushing Cat away, but he can't keep dismissing his feelings for her at the same time. That was fascinating to witness and I couldn't wait to find out if he would eventually give in or not.
 
Miranda Liasson has written a wonderful story about true love, loss, pain, hope and confidence. I liked A Man of Honor from the start. It's a moving story with main characters that are easy to feel sympathy for. The attraction between Cat and Preston is so intense that it's taking over everything that happens. They can't stay away from one another. For me that was the best part of the story. Miranda Liasson made their connection raw and inevitable. The ending put a smile on my face and I loved the last chapter. I really enjoyed reading this powerful romantic story.
 
 

Excerpt

Whoever this woman was, he was certain she was not a prostitute. His friends weren’t that tacky. But no reason he couldn’t play along for a bit. Even with his bum leg, he’d had plenty of offers from sympathetic young things pining to do their patriotic duty for a fallen soldier. He’d never been that desperate. Still wasn’t. But he’d love a distraction. Love to forget everything for just a few moments: the pain, the hell, the woman he’d left in the dust.

The lady in black sashayed across the room to stand directly behind him, where he couldn’t easily turn to see her face. She looped cool hands over his eyes, leaning her elbows on the top of his chair. Raindrops rolled off her jacket and landed on his neck, sending a slight shiver cascading down his back. A clean, delicate fragrance he couldn’t quite place enveloped him in a cloud of scent.

“What would you like tonight, soldier?” Her voice was smooth as silk, but her hands trembled, making him think she must be young, inexperienced. She brushed her lips softly along his neck. He would put a stop to this nonsense in a minute, but God, it felt too damn good to be touched.

The image that played before his eyes, stabbing his heart with the same immutable pain as his worthless leg, was of another woman, not vampy, not sultry. Soft blond hair, a smile as sweet as homemade sugar cookies at Christmas. More slender than curvy, but just right for his tastes. There’d been a time before his injury when he’d almost believed he could make up for his shitty upbringing and be the man she needed. But not anymore. And not ever.

The war had changed all that.

That scent. Lavender, that’s what it was. Sweet and old fashioned, a huge contrast to her provocative behavior. Familiar. And that voice, too, once you peeled off the layers of that phony lilt.

His heart accelerated, his senses sharpening with suspicion. “Why are you here?” he asked as casually as he could manage while he reached up his hands and curved them around her wrists. Slender, just like hers.

“Your friends sent me to show you a good time,” she said. He ran his hands lightly up her arms, stopping just below her elbow.

His heart pumped equal parts dread and anticipation through his body. Too many coincidences had raised his spy sense. Her timidity, the disguise, the sweet smell that had permeated his dreams every bloody night in the hot, arid desert. This was no stripper. Or dancer. Or whatever masquerade she was playing at. He didn’t know how or why, but he’d recognize Catherine Kingston if he was blind and deaf.

His hands stilled at her elbows. For one moment, he stroked the soft skin, enjoying the forbidden feel of her. Then he tightened his hold, pivoted his shoulders, and sent her tumbling into his lap. The hood tipped back, and he found himself staring into a pair of angry eyes the color of a September sky.

“What the—”

She struggled against him, but he didn’t ease up. His leg might be just about useless, but everywhere else, he was lock-grip strong. He’d pinned her as easily as a judo master’s takedown.

“What are you doing here?” he asked. 
 


Chances Are by Wendy Lou Jones

About Wendy Lou Jones
 

I spent a happy childhood in West Sussex, where I avoided reading at all costs, so much so that my English teacher fell off her perch when I told her I got an A in my English lit. O-level (showing my age there!) “How did YOU get an A?” she was heard to exclaim. 


    I studied the sciences at A-level and managed to get through the university years without so much as a peek at a library (not entirely true, but pretty much.) 


    I worked as a doctor in my twenties and then dropped out to have kids. Having read about only one book a year through my teens, I was, by then, up to the dizzy heights of perhaps three? How on Earth did I end up here? Did I take a wrong turning somewhere in life? You might well think so. But what really happened was, one night, in my late 30s, I had a dream. As simple as that. A dream that inspired me. And I’ve been reading and writing ever since.

Find out more at


 
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Book reviews


Amazon USA Amazon UK
 Review by Anniek 
 
Luke has everything he wants right now. He's a dentist, he's financially secure and with his good looks he can pretty much get every woman he wants. Luke doesn't do serious relationships. Sometimes he stays with one woman a little bit longer, but he has never felt the urge to settle down. While he's driving with his girlfriend of the moment, he is more interested in the woman on the passenger seat than he is in what happens in front of him. Because of that he almost causes an accident.
 
Rebecca is standing in the middle of the road. She just found out that the house she should have been living in with her husband is sold to a new family. Rebecca's heart is filled with sadness and pain. She doesn't see the car coming at her and luckily it misses her. Rebecca recognizes Luke and doesn't have fond memories of him. Four years ago Rebecca and her fiancé got into a car accident. He didn't survive and Rebecca has been grieving ever since.
 
Rebecca lives in a barn on her parents' land. Her father turned the barn into a home and she has everything she needs. Rebecca's house is filled with memories of the man she lost. She gave up her dream for him and now she works nights at the local supermarket. Rebecca's also pulled back from having any social life whatsoever.
 
Ever since the day Luke almost ran her over he can't stop thinking about the girl on the road. She said his name, but he doesn't remember her. When his brother asks him to drop off some invitation cards for his wedding Luke gladly helps him out. When he is about to deliver a card to Rebecca, Luke's heart almost stops beating when he discovers she is the girl he has been thinking about. 
 
To get Rebecca to like him Luke has to really go all out. He needs her to see that he is not the same guy he was when they went to school together. Will Luke be able to open Rebecca's eyes and make her see the new him? Is it possible for Rebecca to get over what happened and to open up her heart again for love?
 
Chances Are took my breath away. Rebecca is so heartbroken and I truly felt for her. She is still young, but feels like her life ended the horrific day of the accident. Even though she pulled back from having a social life she still is a loyal daughter and a good employee. Rebecca is a person I would absolutely like in real life. Luke is used to getting what he wants without much trouble or effort. The fact that he has to reinvent himself to get Rebecca to let him in felt right for the story. He is a kind and caring man who is willing to do anything now that he has finally found the love of his life.
 
Wendy Lou Jones has written another amazing story. She writes about Rebecca's situation with so much dignity that she made me clearly feel the emotions she is writing about. While I was reading Chances Are there were tears streaming down my face a couple of times, but I also laughed and felt the joy of newborn love. Wendy Lou Jones is a fantastic writer. She knows how to pull you in with her beautiful stories. Chances Are is the third book of the Echoes of Nutt Hill series and I hope she will keep adding to this series for a very long time.

Review by Suze

 
Luke has enough money to spend, he's popular with women and he lives in a big house. He's used to getting attention and doesn't think about the feelings of others very often. That changes when he meets Rebecca. Rebecca's unique appearance enchants him and he wants to know more about her. Even before he has a chance to really get to know her he knows he's falling for her. Caring so much about a woman is something he's never experienced before. 
 
Rebecca has lost her fiancé four years ago and ever since she's lived a withdrawn life. She's a fighter for safer roads and she stacks shelves at the local supermarket. She's left her biggest passion behind and now her main focus is just getting through the days. When she meets Luke she isn't ready to spend any time with another man, because it feels like she's betraying the man she was supposed to get married to. Luke doesn't give up without a fight though. Will Rebecca like him back eventually or is she too damaged to ever love again?
 
Chances Are is a beautiful multilayered love story. Wendy Lou Jones's novels are always deep and meaningful. She writes about realistic topics in an honest and emotional way. I love that about her books. They make me cry when the main characters are hurting and they fill my heart with joy when something good happens to them. Her books are fantastic emotional rollercoasters that always leave a lasting impression.
 
At first Luke is arrogant without any consideration for what other people may think or experience. This changes when he meets Rebecca. I enjoyed witnessing how true love improves his personality and makes him a wonderful and kindhearted person. It happens gradually, the more he does for Rebecca to win her heart, the more he becomes a sensitive and compassionate man. This amazing transformation moved me to tears.
 
Rebecca has been through a lot and she doesn't know how to start living again. Without Luke she might have never given it another try. She has a good heart and is a sweet woman, but she's also scared and on guard. She doesn't trust easily and it takes forever for Luke to find a way to get through to her. She's fragile and he has to be careful not to break her. The steps they make together are pure and they greatly affected me. Their journey isn't an easy one, but there's so much beauty in it.
 
I love the way Wendy Lou Jones writes about life and living. She has a unique vision and that makes her stories so strong. Her writing flows easily, so the reader can focus entirely on the story and all the sentiment that comes with it. I love the Echoes of Nutt Hill series. The setting is fantastic, the characters are interesting and there are many unexpected twists and turns. These books are really special and I highly recommend them.