Review: The List by Joanna Bolouri

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Joanna Bolouri’s fantastic debut novel ‘The List: My Year of Sexual Adventures‘! While you’re here, have a wander around and maybe leave a comment or two – I’d love to hear if you’ve read this book or if you now plan to.

19006544Source: Quercus
Format: Paperback
Publish Date: 10th April 2014 by Quercus (first published 5th December 2013)
Price: N/A
Date Read: 13th November 2014
Genre: Romance-y Angst-y Chick-Lit
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of The List for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.

Joanna Bolouri’s The List is completely unlike any book I have ever read and would normally ever read. For one, I tend to shy away from angsty chick lit and, secondly, from diary-format reads in the first person. This book however intrigued me when I first heard about it; hence joining the blog tour! The List took me straight out of my biblio-safe zone and on a fast train to who-knew-where. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book itself is written in the first person from the point of the main female character; Phoebe Henderson. There are no real chapters as the story is written in the format of a diary with an entry for each day, though the book is split into months. Phoebe is joined by a whole host of other characters including the lovely Oliver; all of whom are extremely relateable and astonishingly real. The List is absolutely hilarious and Joanna takes no prisoners. If you don’t like swearing or sex though, this book is not for you. I described the book earlier as ‘chick lit’ and honestly I’m not sure if that is the right category – what is though is a whole new matter. It’s full angst and romance. It’s uproarious, cringe-worthy and downright dirty in places. I went through the book alternately wanting to cheer on or throttle Phoebe, Oliver or most of the other characters. For me though, that’s the sign of a great book! It is a book I could well see being based on real-life events, though a life far different from my own. Isn’t that the point of reading though? To quote Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations” –  and to boldly go where my mind hasn’t gone before.

Reading The List has taught me a lot about my literary likes and dislikes. The book itself was extremely easy to read and I felt carried along by the trials and tribulations of Phoebe and her exciting and often horrendously amusing life and sexual explorations. For all the sex in the book however, it wasn’t at all pornographic and honestly was mainly talked about plainly and without going into great detail. Not a book I would give out to all and sundry but would definitely offer to a friend. And the big question; Does it have a happy ending? Spoilers darling. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Overall a great and funny read which I hope you will try.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

About the author:

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Joanne Bolouri

Joanna Bolouri worked in sales before she began writing professionally at the age of thirty. Winning a BBC comedy script competition allowed her to work and write with stand-up comedians, comedy scriptwriters and actors from across the UK. She’s had articles and reviews published in The Skinny, the Scottish Sun, the Huffington Post and HecklerSpray. She lives in Glasgow with her daughter.

Twitter // Facebook // Blog // Goodreads

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This blog tour was organised by the lovely Emma Louise of Emma Lou Book Blog

Review: The Mausoleum Road Affair by Patricia Miller

20562731Source: Swoon Romance
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish Date: 4th November 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th November 2014
Genre: Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of The Mausoleum Road Affair for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Frustrated mother of two, Brianne Hunter, escapes her bland life in rural Fennelton by embarking on a weekend away shopping with her best friend. On the drive to her friend Darlene’s estate, Brianne crashes her Jeep off the Mausoleum Road, and makes her way, bleeding and injured, to a stone ranch seeking help. There she encounters Dr. Robert Moss, whose spouse is in Europe spending their money. Thus begins an immediate attraction, and a wildly sensual coupling that essentially changes them both.

When the weekend tryst ends, Brianne returns home to the demands of her predictable life. Shortly thereafter, life-changing losses occur for both Brianne and Dr. Moss. Then comes the day when Dr. Moss pays Brianne a house call, attempting to reignite their union; however, a revelation he delivers may be more than Brianne can accept. Yet Brianne cannot deny her heart’s passion, and returns to the ranch to deliver a disclosure of her own. In the end, the pair must decide if they will follow their passionate fate together or not.

I was initially drawn to this book by the absolutely gorgeous cover. Possibly that’s a little shallow but I adore it. I would love to have a hardback or paperback copy to adorn my shelves but for now I will stick with the black and white copy that shows up on my kindle! The book itself is utterly fabulous too. The writing and descriptions are so in depth they draw you right into the story and you can imagine the whole thing so easily! Descriptions of smells, sounds and touch are so well put you can almost experience them for yourself through the authors words. Not what I was expecting for words written on a page.

Along with the way it’s written, the author has brought to life some amazing characters. They are hurt, loving, flawed and amazing people that grab on to your heart and make you love them. This book makes you laugh, cry and care about Brianne, Robert and their families; people who live in the pages of a book, and that is something rather beyond comprehension at times. I think that the part I love most about this book are the flawed characters. Odd? Maybe. Humans are flawed though. Life doesn’t come with guaranteed happy endings and this is something the author has put across brilliantly. How this book ends I won’t reveal though; to quote River Song… “Spoilers, darling”.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

 

About the author:

Patricia Miller

 Patricia Miller

Patricia Miller lives in Bradford, Ontario with her husband and two children. Her work has appeared inThe Era Banner, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Quarterly, From The Cottage Porch: An Anthology, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter. She enjoys snowboarding and snorkeling.

Twitter // Facebook // Website // Pinterest

Excerpt: Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University #1) by Dahlia Adler

Welcome to my blog for one of the many excerpts being released by Dahlia for her latest release, the first book in the series coming out in less than a month. It sounds like an utterly fantastic read and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I hope you love this excerpt as much as I do x

23357716Publish Date: 9th December 2014
Pre-Order Price: £2.55 / $4.10
Pre-Order Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Genre: New Adult / Romance

Goodreads Summary: 

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

And now for what you’ve been waiting so patiently for!

Excerpt:

I wince at the mention of Connor, glad Max is too distracted by his surroundings to notice. He certainly had been nice, and I’m not sure I would’ve gotten through the past month without him. But I’m not his responsibility, and I’m not his friend, and I’m not sure how or when I forgot those things, but I need to start remembering them, stat. He’s my TA—not my chauffeur, not my broker, and not my confidant. I still can’t believe I told him about the Slutmobile.

“Yeah,” I mumble when I realize I still haven’t answered Max. Thankfully, it’s a short-lived subject, and for the rest of the walk, Max peppers me with questions that are easy enough to answer—what this building is and that, what various signs say, and why so many boys and girls walk around wearing funny-looking pictures (i.e. Greek letters) on their chests.

Then there are the slightly harder ones, like, “Why is that boy’s hand in her skirt?” Asked extremely loudly, of course, about a couple fondling each other on a bench bordering the quad.

A twinge of loneliness both unfamiliar and unwelcome worms its way into my system at the sight of the happy, snuggling couple. I yank him in the other direction, for both our sakes.  “He’s keeping his hands warm,” I say hastily as we take a slightly alternate route to the health center.

I’m so busy keeping an eye out for other situations I don’t want to explain that only Max’s tugging hand keeps me from bumping into a couple standing just outside Nijkamp Hall, the biggest of the grad student dorms. “Crap, sorry.” Apparently it’s my destiny to have couples shoved in my face today. I step around them, squeezing Max’s hand tighter, but then the guy speaks.

“Lizzie? Max?”

Against my better judgment, and because there’s a witness, I turn at the sound of the familiar voice. It’s Connor, of course.

And he’s wearing flat-front pants.

I want to both laugh and cry at the sight. He looks really, really fucking good, and I look like a teen mom on one hour of sleep who doesn’t own a single article of unwrinkled clothing and couldn’t be bothered with so much as a hairbrush this morning, let alone lip gloss.

Meanwhile, the blonde he’s with looks like she got dressed by cartoon birds.

“Good morning,” I say, pasting on a smile. “Max, say hi to Mr. Lawson.”

“Mr. Lawson, huh?” the blonde teases. “And here I’ve been letting the kids call me Jessica. Clearly I need to take a more authoritative approach.”

The kids. Fuck you, Jessica. I do not like you.

“The bigger kids get to call me Connor,” he says with a smile and a wink in my direction that makes me want to hate him but instead does a weird flip thing to my stomach I’d prefer to pretend isn’t happening. “Jess, this is Lizzie, and this is her little brother, Max.”

“Jess” crouches down and holds out a hand for Max to shake. “It’s nice to meet you, Max.” He shakes her hand with a toothy smile and I decide that maybe she’s not a megabitch. Maybe. At least until she straightens up and says, “I have to run to class, but I’ll see you tonight,” to Connor before squeezing his forearm.

We exchange “Nice to meet you”s before she walks off, but my brain’s still working to process the past few minutes. Connor has taken my fashion advice. Connor has also, apparently, taken a lover. Or already had one.

And I care, apparently.

Which means I need to get laid.

About the author:

DahliaAdler (533x640)

Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA/NA author and blogger at every spare moment in between. More often than not, you can find her on Twitter as @MissDahlELama, and if you tweet her pictures of macarons, she just might fall in love with you. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

Twitter // Facebook // Website // Blog // Goodreads

Review: Pyramid (Jack Howard #8) by David Gibbins

Source: NetGalley & Bookbridgrcover55131-medium
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle & Large paperback
Publish Date: 6th November 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 4th November 2014
Genre: Action Adventure / Thriller
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Pyramid for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knew the story of Ancient Egypt. Until now.

For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region. In the face of overwhelming danger, Jack Howard and his team of marine archaeologists have gathered pieces of a fantastic puzzle. But putting it together may cost them their lives.

Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 150-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.

As people fight and die for their rights aboveground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

I first came across the pure delight of David Gibbins’ work with words one month a few years ago when my book group read ‘The Tiger Warrior’; the 4th book in the Jack Howard series. I absolutely loved the wording, imagery and adventure that flowed into my mind from the words written simply on the page. The world of Jack Howard was and is something far out of my range of experience so being allowed to escape into the mind and life of such a character was pure escapism. Life however always seems to get in the way and although I borrowed and/or bought copies of other books in the series, it wasn’t until now, with the chance to read and review the latest offering and adventure that I have been able to pick up and read another of these treasures.

Pyramid, like the other Jack Howard series, is a standalone novel but with one long and rather complicated storyline seemingly going throughout the entire series. Pyramid closely follows the previous story in the series; Pharaoh, though as I did, you can read Pyramid without having read Pharaoh first. This story is set (as you would imagine) mainly around the pyramids of Egypt, although also moving around to the coast of Spain and into Israel. Egypt though is not a safe place to be in at this time and I must warn readers that things do get extremely hard to read at certain points. The country is, you see, at the point of there being a coup, with religious extremists set to take over the government and kill all those who are seen to be against what they stand for. The horror of these times is well and straightforwardly written, with many things that could have been hashed over for the more sensitive readers not missed out.

The story though isn’t all death, destruction and rioting. One quote on the front of the book likens Jack Howard and the series to a cross between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown. This is extremely accurate. Jack Howard is many things; a seriously talented diver, an archaeologist, a historian and so much more which you’ll find as you read the story. All this experience and knowledge is all thanks to the talent of the author who has experience is these very different areas himself and this really shines through in the writing. I was pleased in fact to be reading much of the time on a Kindle as it saved on the many times I needed to turn to a dictionary to find out what a word meant – having a built-in dictionary was perfect for this type of book! Some of the harder and more interesting words and phrases included ‘sepulchral gloom’ and ‘bellicose’. From the way in which the word was used you could guess at a meaning but having a definition there was fantastic.

The overwhelming genre of this book is action adventure. You could call it a thriller but an unconventional one if it is. There is no ‘bad guy’ to point to, just a country undergoing one of the worst points in living memory. Despite all this however, Jack Howard and his best friend Costas manage to make their way through a dive to discover the truth behind the biblical book of Exodus, follow the footsteps and clues left by an ancient Pharaoh; Akhenaten, and at the same time expounding a historical story or theory in incredible detail, often at the worst possible times. The relationship between Jack and Costas is fantastic though and hilarious at times to watch. All characters are well detailed, explained and you really get to know them during the course of the book and series. I honestly hope it doesn’t take me as long again to read another of this wonderful series.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

Weekly Round-Up – 02.11.14

Goodness, November is already upon us and 2014 shall soon be over. Here are my latest book finds and I’m extremely excited about a few of them; not least books 3 & 4 in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and 3rd book in Gena Showalter’s White Rabbit series, The Zombie Queen of Hearts. Perfect reading for this spooky time of year! Enjoy x

BookBridgr:

cover55131-medium

Pyramid (A Novel starring Jack Howard) by David Gibbins

 

NetGalley: 

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The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter

 

Books Bought:

download (7)

Intertwined (Intertwined #1) by Gena Showalter – via Ex-Library
Passion (Fallen #3) by Lauren Kate – via CS
Rapture (Fallen #4) by Lauren Kate – via CS
Echo Burning (Jack Reacher #5) by Lee Child – via CS
The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne – via CS
The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond – via CS
Zero Hour (Numa Files #11) by Clive Cussler (with Graham Brown) – via CS
Cyclops (Dirk Pitt #8) by Clive Cussler – via CS
The Mousetrap and Selected Plays by Agatha Christie – via CS
Elfsorrow (Legends of the Ravens #1) by James Barclay – via CS
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabel Allende – via CS
Keeping the Dead (Rizzoli & Isles #7) by Tess Gerritsen – via CS
The Silent Girl (Rizzoli & Isles #9) by Tess Gerritsen – via CS
The 13 Treasures (Thirteen Treasures #1) by Michelle Harrison – via CS
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – via CS

Total = £4.04

 

Blogs Posted:
Book Blitz: Mollywood (Carved Hearts #2) by L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace (& Giveaway Link) – 27th October 2014
Review: Damsel In Distress? (Time-Travel to Regency England #2) by Kristina O’Grady (Blog Tour) – 29th October 2014
Blog Tour: Review & Author Interview – Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael – 31st October 2014
Review: Loving the Senator (Capitol Affairs #1) by Mia Villano (Blog Tour) – 1st November 2014

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And in conclusion I can only say I desperately need a book buying ban…

Review: Loving the Senator (Capitol Affairs #1) by Mia Villano

Source: Swoon RomanceLovingtheSenator.v6.2
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish Date: 28th October 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 21st October 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Loving the Senator for free from Swoon Romance in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please be aware that this book contains language and situations that are adult in nature.

 

Goodreads Summary:

On the outside, Alex Conrad has everything. He’s gorgeous, rich, and has just been elected to the United States Senate by the state of Virginia.

But for the past few years, something has plagued Alex. Something has been missing from his life of privilege and opportunity. Something he has never allowed himself to acknowledge, until the night of his election.

Prudence Romaine is seventeen years Alex’s junior. The daughter of a friend whose life had taken a wrong turn, Prudence came into Alex’s life when she was just sixteen. Despite the passage of time and evidence to the contrary, Alex still thinks of Prudence as the little girl he once tried to rescue.

On election night, the sexual tension between Prudence and the senator reaches a tipping point. Prudence has been in love with Alex for some time, and now that she is in a position to do something about it, she has her aim set on Senator Conrad with no plans of giving up.

But Alex is already committed and a scandal is the last thing the newly-elected politician needs. As Alex pushes Prudence away, convinced their relationship can only end badly for them both, Prudence becomes even more determined to have Alex Conrad in her bed as well as her heart.

And Alex? He can only hold out for so long. And once he gives in, the passion they’ve held back for years threatens to undo them. But loving the senator is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Prudence must learn to handle the pressure that comes with being with a high-profile politician, Alex’s jealous ex-girlfriend, and the demands of the people, if she wants to make this work.

At around 160 pages, I found Loving the Senator to be a lovely quick book to get through. Of course, there were many parts I wanted to read a few times over – just to make sure I got the full… thrust of the information being imparted by the author. And oh my, I did. Under aged? I would strongly suggest other reading material to start with. This book goes into rather (wonderful) intimate detail and is not for the faint of constitution.

My feelings on this book went up and down more than a yo-yo on speed while reading it. This was mainly due to the main female character Prudence. For being a normally level-headed lawyer, campaign leader Prudence seems to lose her head and become a complete maniac addicted to sex around Alex, not happy to do anything but get into his pants. Not that, I suppose, this is a bad thing – just a little off putting when you’re thrown into such drama straight from the beginning. When you meet Alex though, you start to understand! Prudence is a lot younger than the newly elected Senator, Alex Conrad who she grew up idolising, crushing on and falling in love with many years before. Alex however, who was around the same age as Prudence’s mother, finds it extremely hard to think or Prudence as anything but the girl he rescued and befriended all those years ago. For all his possessiveness for Prudence though, he doesn’t seem to know exactly what he wants. Prudence and Alex have some good friends though to aid them through the current and oncoming drama fortunately.

With as much drama as all good politic-surrounded dramas should have, Loving the Senator certainly doesn’t disappoint in that respect. The book is well written and the characters are crazy, hilariously uproarious, sexy and completely full of life. Between Prudence and Alex, the words ‘tumultuous relationship’ don’t begin to cover it. As much as I adore the West Wing, it doesn’t come quite into the same dramatic sphere as this book!

With old relationships, new relationships, secrets, lies and scandal, will Prudence and Alex’s relationship survive the media? You’ll just have to read it yourself to find out. Overall a great book and I’m very excited to read more in the series.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

 

About the author: 

Mia Villano

Mia Villano was born and raised in Geneva, Ohio and now lives in Akron. Moving to Birmingham, Alabama for seven years she attended the University of Alabama majoring in Early Childhood Education.  Mia has started a customer service department for a telecommunications company in 1997.

After the birth of her second child she decided to stay home for a few years and write which is her true passion. Mia self-published her first book in 2011 called Chasing Secrets. This is a historical fiction novel based on stories her grandmother told her about walking from Alabama to Ohio during the Great Depression. Currently Mia is writing what she truly loves, romance. Set to be published in July of 2014 with Swoon Romance, Mia wrote Loving the Senator and is currently working on a sequel.

In her spare time she loves to visit NYC at least twice a year, cook, work out, and spend as much time with her two daughters as possible. She loves all music from Dean Martin to JayZ. She has a passion for politics and enjoys working on presidential campaigns. Mia shares her home with her two children, a husband, two Dachshunds named Louie and Frankie and two cats Gotti and Fat Tony.

Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Swoon Romance