Sex, Lies, and Beauty Aids, by Deb Julienne

Sex Lies Beauty AidsA very enjoyable romantic comedy – from the opening words where you first meet Sabrina in all her hilarious glory, to the sweet ending that makes you go ‘Awwww’ this story is full of love and innocence, trust and mishap and is utterly absorbing. I was in fits of laughter in some parts, as Sabrina jumps in with both feet to be best she can be. Her dedication to her research for her column is only surpassed by her belief that she owes her reader the best advice. When she is dropped into the position of giving advice on love and sex she freaks out slightly, and proceeds to put herself into so many more crazy positions… oh dear, the face mask was one of the moments I was hysterical. A visit to an Adult Store was another – when someone quite innocent walks into a shop full of lingerie and sex toys, there’s going to be hilarious consequences.

I have always wondered how well twins could pull off a switch, and the situation here is so well described. The feelings she has for one twin contrasting with how Sabrina feels about the other… then getting to know the one she doesn’t like… or does she?  And sharing her feelings with one about the other… oh you know this is going to come back to bite her – but not in a predictable way.  Each scene has enough delightful detail, and hilarious hiccups to keep you hooked to the very end.

So how will Sabrina react to the lies, after all she hates lies of any sort. There is no excuse as far as she is concerned…

I like the way Deb interspersed the touching moments with a dash of humour, and in amongst those funniest situations she deftly added moments of intimacy.

Becoming intimate with someone is gentle and delicate. It takes subtle words and touches to build quietly and slowly, until it takes you quite by surprise and you realise the affection snuck in while you were looking somewhere else! Deb portrayed that very well in this funny tale about getting it right, getting it wrong … and getting even!

I am looking forward to reading more of Deb Julienne’s romances, this is the first in the Twisted Sisters Club Series – I can’t wait for the next one!

 

See more at either Goodreads or Amazon

Room by Emma Donoghue

RoomWell, what an incredible story this is. I couldn’t write this review straight away after reading it… I had to let it settle inside me, and yet settle isn’t the right word at all. A story like this leaves a woman somewhat unsettled. This story has come up often in conversations with others that I hear have read it. I would recommend it to almost anyone.

The story is not based on true events but was inspired by true events. However, I think the way the feelings are described leaves you feeling anguish for Ma and Jack as though they really are real live people who have gone through this. As a Mother, I was in awe of the way Ma managed to raise Jack and teach him about his life and surroundings in a way that fostered learning and yet shielded him from the ghastly story that is his history. How could a mum do it any other way, you simply wouldn’t want your child to know there was a life outside that was free and happy without fear – not if you couldn’t let your child go into that good world. So Ma taught him everything and incorporated trying to escape (screaming at the skylight) into their routine without Jack understanding the enormity of their situation. The Room, all 11 feet square was the entire world to Jack. He was happy with it and Ma and their Sunday Treats as he knew nothing else … but he did feel uneasy about Old Nick. Ma’s protection of him was absolute. Old Nick had an easy prisoner for those years that Jack was too young – no way would Ma risk Jack, so she stayed put and made the best of an awful situation.

 

SPOILER ALERT: (of sorts) once they leave the Room and get out into the world, they both have a lot of adjusting to do. You are reminded that Ma was a teenager, and quite innocent of so much, when she was taken… she had no-one to teach her about womanhood, never mind about motherhood. What a difficult transition is before her.

I could write about this story all day… suffice to say – You should read it yourself.  There is nothing graphic really, except your own imagination. Some moments make your skin crawl because you understand so much more than little Jack about what it is he’s describing.

This is an intense and powerful story. Really quite incredible… and recounted through the eyes of Jack who turned five on the first page.  I’m not sure which moved me more: the opening scene in a world that we know is awful and yet to Jack is simply quite normal; or the closing scene… where I felt Ma’s tremble of courage, and the relief of letting go.

Just read it.

Goodreads or  Amazon 

A Brave Day for Harold Brown by Mishana Khot

Mishana was promoting this book and I read the first few paragraphs online… I enjoyed these opening paragraphs,liking the style of writing and the way the author spoke to me, it felt familiar, as though a favourite storyteller was back. However,when I got to this line:

“Little did Harold know, a strange new wind was blowing that morning.”

– I knew there was something really enjoyable to follow. I contacted Mishana and she kindly sent me a copy to review, but be assured my review is completely unbiased.

Harold BrownI really enjoyed “Harold Brown” – I like the way the author described his very neat and ordered life, one he seemed quite satisfied with… and yet when I read the part about his childhood I could immediately get a sense of the stifled boy inside. A great description of how an event in your childhood will shape who you are from the inside, this can be good or can be a bit sad… Some things can be shut away, but they never really leave you.

Each character is beautifully described, and although there is little description about the gypsy fortune teller, the way her voice is written, gives a clear understanding of how very different she is to Harold. Harold’s reliable assistant, Mrs Springer, is a real sweetie… somehow you just know she’s the one you can talk to if you’re having a hard day.

The Tiger himself is beautifully described and matching Harold’s new found knowledge from his books, he offers the reader (or listener) a vivid picture of this majestic creature. The interactions at the circus are well described, and Harold’s inner turmoil is adorable! The scenes of Harold and the Tiger looking at each are quite lovely.
And by the way, a good book cover will often give you a sense of whether you’ll like the story inside – this is no exception – Bravo to the artist of the wonderful cover design.

I think this story would be lovely for a younger (primary school age) if read by their parents, or older youth to YA reading themselves. It is a simple story but told in a clean eloquent way that leads the reader’s imagination. It’s a very enjoyable story, I am more than happy to recommend Harry Brown to other readers.

I gave this 5/5 on Goodreads.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23153267-a-brave-day-for-harold-brown  …  have a look for it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mishana-Khot/e/B00N8RHKXM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

A Time of Souls by Bruce G. Bennett

Time_of_Souls_AYou get a really good sense of who the characters are… the opening scene is reasonably sizzling, but it’s not an erotica work.

The sex scenes were well described and in keeping with the characters, giving you a good feel for the morals, motives and methods of each character involved. As the stories unfold, you wonder how they will connect, but connect they do, and interweave very nicely.
An unlikely alliance forms, and investigations ensue. The stories told to the journalist are said in unique ways fitted to each individual, obviously a pattern forms but it’s not repetitive for the reader.

The gamut of emotions felt by each, and recounted are very well described and thought provoking. The threads meander suitably and gather together again in an ending that makes you guess, but keeps you wondering for a short while… and then keep you thinking about things for a bit.
Although the central character wrestles with his thoughts on God and the Devil,  the hereafter, and ‘just what is After?’ the book is no way a theological treatise. All human beings die one day, regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs… and then what?

A very enjoyable read.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23158735-a-time-of-souls