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

~*~

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

Review: Finding Her Way Back by Heather Van Fleet & Giveaway Link

Welcome one and all to my stop on the Finding Her Way Back Blog Tour. Before we start with the review, do we all have refreshments to hand? Good!

Source: Author / YA Bound – Blog Tour CommanderFinding Her Way Back
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 7th October 2014 by Swoon Romance
Price: N/A
Date Read: 6th October 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Note: I received this review copy of Finding Her Way Back for free from the blog tour commander 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.

 

Finding Her Way Back (FHWB) is the first novel by Heather Van Fleet I have read but not the first which Heather has written. In the past she has written books for two other series; Perfect Timing (When It’s Least Expected & A Long Time Coming) and Predetermined (Resisting Fate & Seizing Fate). If FHWB is anything to go by, I have high hopes for the others.

Coming home from her first 9 months of college to help she-devil older sister Anna plan and prepare for her wedding, 19 year old Callie is unprepared to come into contact with her former-skater-boy and ex-best friend turned muscular sex-god Ky. The booty-licious chubby-sexy Callie though is constantly thrown into contact with Ky and a friendship once more develops. With so much history between the two though and family tragedy and secrets aplenty, can the two of them stick together and move their swiftly blooming relationship on or will Callie’s hesitance and fears pull them apart?

I guess like me you’ll have to read it to find out. It’ll be well worth your while.

In perfect honesty this review is terribly hard to write – I’m still (almost a week later) trying to recover from the book hangover it’s left me with. I blame you, Heather!

Basically this book is fantastic – it is hard to read and no doubt like me you will start shouting at the characters (I do apologise to anyone standing outside that open window who wondered what the heck was going on when I shouted out ‘Dammit Callie, not again!’ for the tenth time). This book made me laugh, it made me cry and practically everything in between. It isn’t a sunshine sparkles and rainbows book; it’s real life. It’s hard and grim at times but this book contains so much sweetness and friendship and love and a tonne of hilarious moments you end up giggling your way through the book – outright guffawing at times. Some lines are so sweet and amazing though, they stay with you.

Licking his lips, eyes glazing over completely, Ky leaned in so close that our noses were pressed flush now. “Because, Calla Lily Bennet, I. Am. Yours. I’ve been yours for years. And I won’t stop being yours. Ever.”

Ky, Finding Her Way Back by Heather Van Fleet

I completely love Heather’s way of writing and talking about her characters. You can see that this book is her baby and she is so in love with it and her characters. From the main characters of Callie with her attitude and Ky with his respect and love for Callie, right down to Brent, Tracey and everyone else, they are all so detailed. The writing draws you in and doesn’t let you go. The characters keep you there and their situations, attitudes and stories keep you. Oh and if you’re anything like me, the immature humour certainly helps.

I am completely in love with Callie and Ky. They are perfect for each other. Given that these two characters are meant to be in their late-teens / early-twenties I was amazed at the overall level-headedness of these two, Ky especially. Callie has been hurt by love in the past; both familial and in relationships. In the past she has pulled away from her former best-friend Ky and this has hurt them both. Ky – shmexy, wonderful man that he is, is more than ready to pick Callie up and show her what she has been missing and how much he loves her. I want that!! Unfortunately, Ky is well and truly taken by the wonderful author it seems… Maybe she will share?

Overall this is an utterly fantastic book which I am certain will divide the audience as all good books do. Some may love it, some may dislike it but honestly, it is what it is. It shows honestly that life isn’t easy. Finding a book which takes life and puts it in a way the audience can understand and relate to is pretty damn hard to find.

For this and everything else I love about this book:

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ – Bl**dy brilliant

 

About the author: 

heather van fleet
Midwestern native Heather Van Fleet lives in a small town on the Iowa/Illinois border. She’s a wife to her hubby–and high school sweet heart–Chris, as well as a mom/mum to her three little girls, Kelsey, Emma and Bella. When she’s not obsessing over her fictional book characters, cooking dinner, or running around chasing her crazy kiddos, you can usually find her with her head stuck in her Kindle, sucking down White Chocolate Mochas like they’re water.

You can find Heather on her Website, on Twitter or on Facebook. Go add yourself as a fan too on her Goodreads page!

Giveaway:

Take me to the giveaway please!

The tour continues – click on the picture below for the tour schedule

Finding-Her-Way-Back-tour banner

 

This tour was scheduled by the wonderful…

YA Bounk Tour Button

Review: Colorado Abduction (Christmas at the Carlisles #1) by Cassie Miles

Source: Amazon UKcolorado-abduction-cassie-miles-book-cover-art
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 1st October 2009 by Harlequin Intrigue (first published 1st January 2009)
Price: Free
Date Re-Read: 29th September 2014

 

This is not the first time I have read the book ‘Colorado Abduction’. I first read it in April 2014 – only a few months ago – but I have been wanting to read it again ever since. In looking for something easy and appealing to read for my slowly un-fogging brain I hit upon this book.

Colorado Abduction is the first book in the Christmas at the Carlisles series and part of the Harlequin Intrigue set. For me it is a wonderful mix of the types of books I simply love; Western Romance and Romantic Suspense. Heaven!

Carolyn Carlisle, CEO of Carlisle Certified Organic Beef is brought back home to the family ranch run by her brother when news of sabotage reaches her. On her return though, Carolyn finds that security has been hired, but even with that, her sister-in-law Nicole is kidnapped and the bodyguard with her shot. Calling in the FBI, Carolyn hopes that the situation will be sorted soon. Enter tall, dark and handsome FBI agent in charge and hostage negotiator JD Burke. The attraction between Carolyn and JD is hot but the middle of an investigation isn’t the right time for either of them, or so they tell themselves. The investigation into the sabotage and kidnapping is continued by the FBI but when ransom demands are received and it looks like there may be a mole in the ranch, Carolyn and JD must learn to work together to get Nicole back to her husband.

Second time around and I still I absolutely loved this book. The characters and the storyline were well rounded and interesting. The story was intriguing and I certainly felt involved with the book; I cared about the characters. I loved the characters of Carolyn and JD – I just wish the ending had been continued on a bit as it was left rather open. There are two other books in the series however which continue the stories of other minor characters from this book. Maybe they will have a few hints of JD and Carolyn.

I would certainly recommend this book to others; it was an easy read and one which I couldn’t put down.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

Review: Whipped by Sabrina York

Source: NetGalley22838382
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 19th August 2014 by Three Twenty-One, LLC as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology.
Price: N/A
Date Read: 18th August 2014

 

Note: I received this review copy of Whipped by Sabrina York for free through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please note if you’re looking for this on Amazon: Whipped is published for a limited time as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology but it will later (apparently) be published as a novella.

 

Whipped is a relatively short story at around 50 pages but I certainly enjoyed it!

Mourning the loss of his best friend (to marriage, not death) alpha male Dane takes solace in the arms of a hooker for a night while in Las Vegas for the bachelor party and wedding of said best friend. Unfortunately, the ‘hooker’ is actually his best friends sister, Tina. The morning after, with no knowledge of who the mystery woman really was, Dane is shocked to see her cosy-ing up to the bride and even more disturbed to find out he’s broken the bro code (a few times!) with his best friend’s sister – a massive no-no if ever there was one. Unfortunately feelings start to come into the matter and Tina and Dane find themselves unable to stay away from one another or stave off the jealousy when they see the other speaking to someone else when they’re apart. Will Dane give in and confess his attraction – and maybe even love –  for the out-of-reach sister of his best friend since childhood?

Overall this was a decent short story and the genres that fit it best are, I believe, contemporary fiction and mild erotica. I found the characters to be well written and introduced and their personalities really came through the authors writing. I would have loved a longer story with more in it but for the length it was good. As an enjoyable but quick read, I can imagine that this would be a great addition to an anthology.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥ – I liked it

 

Review: Good Wood (Carved Hearts #1) by L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace

Source: Author – Michelle Pace via Facebookgood wood
Format: Ebook – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 21st July 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 10th August 2014

Note: I received this review copy of Good Wood (Carved Hearts #1) by L.G. Pace & Michelle Pace for free from the authors in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

 

When I first answered an ad for reviewing ARC copies of Good Wood I didn’t have much of a clue what the book was all about. I didn’t have a clue about genre or length etc, I was just drawn in by the gorgeous cover. I was then unfortunately overwhelmed with life which is why it’s taken me such a disgustingly long amount of time to read and review this book. My apologies to the authors.

I’m told by Amazon it’s 262 pages long although I can’t be sure as my Kindle version didn’t contain page numbers – I would guess that is an accurate number. It didn’t fully twig in my mind until the end that it wasn’t written by one person but a writing duo. The flow of the books was perfect and I saw no gaps or errors in that. The only error being a few extra or missing letters every now and again which didn’t take away anything during reading. I would say that Good Wood is a Contemporary Romance book but one that was much cleaner than many I’ve read. Sexual activity was mentioned but mainly hinted at activities/positions and wasn’t (to me) overt. This did not at all detract from the book but actually made it rather enjoyable in its differences.

Good Wood starts with the view point of Joe. Joe is a wood worker, living with his very pregnant wife Jess. Jess goes out one night however and is involved in a car accident. In the hospital as the health or his wife deteriorates further, Joe is forced to make difficult decisions regarding the life of his wife and unborn child. Fast-forward 3 years and Joe has changed completely. He trawls tourist bars looking for an easy lay, someone to spend a night with and nothing more. Names mean nothing and the woman is lucky if he remembers during the act, let alone afterwards. At the building site where he is at that time working, a new food truck comes along, owned, worked and manned by the younger sister of his two best friends; Molly. For years Molly had a massive crush on Joe but after moving away and eloping has come home, fleeing from her ex-husband and has no knowledge of Joe’s marriage and the outcome of that. Joe not recognising Molly isn’t the best way to a good first impression either. Molly and Joe are both flawed characters with secrets and massive problems which threaten to keep them apart. Are they able to accept and move on from their painful pasts and make a new life together?

It didn’t take me long at all to get into this book – a few pages and I was hooked. At one point I looked up and discovered I was 89% through and it was suddenly 11pm having last looked at a clock around 5pm! I did end up reading this book in a single day as I just didn’t want to put it down. I found the characters to be well thought-out and written. I may not have agreed with everything they did but I found myself understanding why they ended up the way they were. There was a lot of growth for the characters, they learnt and moved forwards and I loved the interaction between Joe and Molly and their friends and family. Along with all this came excitement too in the form of vengeful ex-husbands, misunderstandings and family rifts. So real and well written! The language used in the book was very descriptive; fantastic with a wood worker and a chef! The descriptions of food from Molly the chef did end up making me feel rather ravenous at times – rather a few kitchen raids did end up happening. I would have loved to see some of the work done by Joe as he begins to carve and make wooden things again, my mind was only so good at picturing some of the objects.

Overall though a great read and one that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it

Review: How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates by Jane Linfoot

Own the book: Yes
Source: #SexMeUpReadathon freebie from Jane Linfoot
Format: E-book – read on Kindle
Publish date: 29th August 2013 by Harpur Impulse
Price: N/A
Date Read: 31st July 2014

Note: I received this copy of How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates by Jane Linfoot for free through the #SexMeUpReadathon from Jane Linfoot. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

How to Win a Guy is a contemporary romance story, coming in at an estimated 200 pages – a rough guess going by the percentage bar on my Kindle. It is the story of millionaire playboy Ed and burlesque dance teacher Millie. Neither of the two characters are without their faults or secrets. Ed, a guy who relishes a challenge is bet by his sister Cassie and best friend Will that he can’t go through 10 dates with the same woman – something he has never done before. It must also include a weekend away and meeting families. After a month of looking for a woman to date, Ed finally comes across men-aren’t-in-my-life-plan Millie when her horse throws her after an explosion. Following through the dates, the two get closer and closer together until a weekend in Provence takes the relationship much further.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read taking only took a few hours to get through, but also not being a taxing read as some books are. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not read another by the same author only 10 days before. The book followed many of the same lines a contemporary romance does, but was pulled up by the characters and writing style.

An enjoyable read for a rainy day – as this has been.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥