Jennifer Nolan’s debut romance novel, Our Forever Crazy Love, is quite the emotional roller coaster. First of all, the fact that it’s written in the first person through the perspective of the main character, Vivienne is something that makes it more personal. In many ways, it feels like you are reading her diary, taking a sneak peek into her most intimate thoughts.
In this riveting novel, we get a front-row seat to not only Vivienne’s personal life but her career life as well. As she explores her relationship with her long-standing crush Danny, we understand more and more why they have never ended up together. While in the beginning Danny is described as handsome but a bit standoffish, this perception is radically challenged as we get to know him better.
The book starts with Vivienne trying to seduce him but ends with her getting a complicated but yet fairy tale ending. More importantly, this is the story of a woman trying to juggle the demands of her career while trying to be there for everyone she loves. As life throws her numerous curve balls and she grapples with excruciating grief, her independent persona begins to unravel.
Apart from love, a recurring theme in this book is the struggle for control. Through the main character, the author attempts to explain how many women struggle with letting go and taking it easy; much to the detriment of their love lives.
As a modern woman, this book hit very close to home with me being able to see some elements of myself in Vivienne. Her struggle with relinquishing control is one that I believe many women can identify with.
While the author does a good job of describing the characters and their relationships with each other, there are some discrepancies and details left unshared. For instance, it would have been great to know more about Danny’s family and how that fed into the man he is today.
There was also little on Luis’ side of the family, especially during moments when such information should have taken center stage. Other characters like Rach also need more development. However, I do understand that the author may have been trying to focus on the main character, Vivienne.
On the plus side, the book has a rhythm to it quite like that of real life; there are a few things that matter and others that are just part of the flow. I also appreciate the use of foretelling by incorporating a psychic; that was a nice touch. At the end of the day, Our Forever Crazy Love is a good read.
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-989733-00-4
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fiction, drama, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, friends, goodreads, Jennifer Nolan, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, nook, novel, Our Forever Crazy Love, read, reader, reading, romance, story, womens fiction, writer, writing
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow was a unique historical fiction novel colored with themes of guilt, sorrow and suffering over all that had been lost. Although this was a very emotional novel, it wasn’t all negative emotions, it also had happiness, romance, and a (possible) love like no other, mixed in with some supernatural elements and fantastical hints of history. The story caught my attention in the first couple of pages, remaining consistently entertaining throughout with only rare moments that seemed to slow a bit due to necessary exposition. The detail throughout the book is absorbing and really pulls you into 1940’s Japan. When it came time for the atomic bomb to drop I could see the horror surrounding Micha as he searched for Kyomi, the burning bodies that he came across and the fear that he would never find her or Ai. I could visualize most every scene, which is something I truly appreciated in a novel that covered such a cataclysmic event that reshaped human history.
While Kyomi’s character was interesting I wanted to see more of her personality. Her character seemed monotone at first, but after awhile her character began to grow on me just as she developed in the novel. I liked Micah from the first page, I’m not sure if that’s because he was the first character introduced to me or because I could empathize with him, perhaps it’s because I felt bad for him after the plane crashed. I liked Ai’s character from the beginning as well, children are always fun characters and Ai was no exception. The three of them together made for a great read with interesting interactions and I liked some of the other spirits that they came across along their travels.
Something that made me enjoy the book even more was how the author used the actual terms used by the Japanese such as calling the military Kempeitai instead of using one of our military terms like Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc. This happens frequently throughout the book which showed me that the author did thorough research for this book and it also helped me learn a few terms. This is an example of the authors dedication to historical detail in this book. Something that I praise the author for is the way that this novel helps you see different points of view from the American and Japanese sides in World War 2. It is also an exploration of Japanese culture at an interesting time in their history. It covers how the Japanese lived, their culture, their work, routines, the hardships they face and much more. I really loved having bits of history weaved into the pages and the way it gave me a new insight. History and fiction meld seamlessly in this novel to deliver a captivating story.
Pages: 344 | ASIN: B083Q4WRPD
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, culture, drama, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Hiroshima, historical fantasy, historical ficiton, history, In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow, japan, japanese, Kenneth W Harmon, kindle, kobo, literature, military, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, romance, story, supernatural, war, world war 2, writer, writing, wwII
Soleil’s novel Limbo Jubilee is a psychological drama written from the perspective of the West Virginian born Neala, who has to overcome the trauma and loss inflicted upon her at an early age and later becomes a psychologist in Arizona while still trying to find herself and her place in the world. While I won’t spoil it entirely, I do have to point out that she isn’t entirely successful, and the book becomes a narrative that slowly unwinds in the same way she does. Slowly, until finally it spirals to a fitting conclusion at the end of the book.
I was quickly taken in by Neala’s story, even as it is interwoven with her growing madness as her psyche breaks down. I was able to easily empathize with her character. You want her to pull through, and heal herself, like she promises she should at the beginning. Neala means Champion—the heroine should be a champion—but midway, as she begins to unravel you know it’s going to end in tears as she loses touch with reality, becomes convinced that she isn’t real, and eventually loses herself bit by bit until there is nothing left except something she has called the “Choisi”. This is wistful and somewhat somber but utterly compelling.
The book and narrative reminds me a lot of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam because I felt like it carried much the same tone. Fans of Atwood’s work in that series will enjoy Limbo Jubilee as I did. In between the rational and recognizable are snippets of what really is happening.
The start of all of this is heavily foreshadowed in the first chapter, beginning with her trying to help her dying Aunt Betsy, and it is in this chapter that the seeds of her eventual anorexia and the lifelong battle with it are planted, as are the seeds of what will come later in the book. I had to read the beginning a few times to catch all the colorful nuances and each time I did, I found another snippet and hint of the prods and disconnects that eventually are Neala’s undoing by the end of the book. While it isn’t a book for the faint of heart, it is definitely one with plenty of potential that needs to be on the bookshelf of anyone that appreciates a complex and thought-provoking read. Not one word isn’t there that doesn’t serve a purpose — Limbo Jubilee has been masterfully written.
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07ZTTK6BB
One Queen Of An Ending brings The High School Queens Trilogy to a thrilling end. Did you feel like you wrapped up everything you wanted to in this final book?
I think I did wrap up a lot of the story lines and gave people the proper ending they needed. It’s why I always love a good trilogy. I think it’s enough space to wrap everything up.
As always, there is consistently compelling storytelling in this book. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
I just wanted to give most of these characters a proper send off. I wanted them to be able to get some resolution even if some of their stories ended in tragedy. I think my main focus was having Danielle realize this world wasn’t meant for her, and she could walk away. I wanted Calvin to be on his own without having love. Jasmine needed to get her backbone and run off with Carter. I also wanted the bitch wars to be closed for now.
Did the characters end up where you had planned or did they change and the story evolve to places you had not imagined when you first started?
I think slowly through the second book I knew I was going to kill Emily. I think other than that, they all were how I wanted them to be. I wanted Susan to be who she was, and it was delicious watching her get her revenge since she’s been on the sidelines too long. I was thrilled Danielle and Calvin’s friendship survived it all.
Do you plan on continuing the characters stories in a different series or starting a whole new series now?
Yes!!!! Bethany has her spinoff series when she goes off to college. It’s called the Forever My Sisters trilogy. I’m currently working on the last book in the trilogy. High School Queens is child play to this new trilogy.
It’s time to say goodbye to our Johnson Prep favorites before they all head off to college.
After the gossip-worthy events of graduation and the shocking death of one of their classmates, it seems The Queen of Queens wants to give Danielle, Bethany, Calvin, Tucker, and Aman one last hurrah.
Will everything have a happy ending, or will one of our favorites end up 6 feet under? How will the war end with the salacious arrival of returning students, Andrew and Jasmine? They all had one lesson left to learn: Just because high school is over, doesn’t mean the high school drama ends. They’re all about to take their curtain call, but will it end as a comedy or a tragedy?
In Other News by Dale Robbins is a sensational fiction story following Marlon Woods, a college student who is the victim of a sexual assault at an off-campus party. The person accused of the crime is Parker Sullivan, the quarterback on the Pine State University football team and son of a former Washington governor. When video of the incident is posted on the internet, some people believe Marlon’s account, while others call him a liar. After being away for the summer, Marlon is back on campus surrounded by whispers and hostility from Parker’s friends. As the trial date approaches, will people believe the truth so that Marlon can receive justice? Or will he be victimized again?
Take a provocative story line and add Dale Robbins compelling writing style and you get a story that is absolutely enthralling. The story is told from Marlon’s point of view, allowing the reader to see everything he sees and experience the raw emotion that he feels as he tries to find a way to live with what happened to him. Although it is a fictional story, it portrays a grim reality. I admired the strength and courage Marlon showed, not only by returning to the university, but also by holding his head up and not allowing the stares and whispers and bullying to stop him from continuing to live his life. I loved the note Marlon wrote to his future self.
The characters in this book, love them or hate them, were exceptionally well developed. I liked Marlon’s friend, Anna. She stood by him when so many others turned their back on him or bullied him. Despite the book’s dark themes of sexual assault, suicide, and bullying, the humorous interactions between Anna and Marlon provided a bit of levity as a counterpoint. Anna’s loyalty to Marlon never wavered, in contrast to Quinn. I felt he could have been a much better friend to Marlon while he was trying to deal with the trauma he’d suffered. I understand why Quinn was upset, but he reacted pretty harshly, and I thought that he could’ve been more sympathetic toward what Marlon was going through and cut him some slack.
Although I enjoyed the book, I found the ending a bit confusing. It was not clear to me what will come next for Marlon, though it was apparent that he had specific plans in mind. Hopefully, all the lingering questions from this story will be answered in the next book, In Other Cases.
In Other News will make you think about the pain others have experienced–and the pain that will continue to claim new victims until there is a massive shift in thinking and much-needed changes to our justice system. In Other News is a thought-provoking novel that is consistently entertaining.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B07S8KCVFC
Jack Carney, an Air Force veteran, is now a lawyer specializing in civil cases. Jack’s life takes an unexpected turn when his friend, Connor Padget, shoots a man at the Baton Rouge Airport live on the five o’clock news and gets charged with murder. Although Jack decides to defend his friend, it comes at a price. Jack does his best to justify what Connor did and bring to light the reason he had to kill: he was protecting his family. But will it be enough? Can he save his friend?
The Trial of Connor Padget by Carl Roberts is a fantastic legal drama that describes the everyday life of an attorney and the ins and outs of the legal system from the commission of the crime to the verdict; all punctuated with military and religious elements. All the while readers get an insight into the complexity of a criminal case. The story of Connor Padget, and how he comes to shoot someone who kidnapped his son, is interesting and raises some serious moral questions.
The novel contains a wide range of characters, but there are big differences in their development and portrayal. I felt that the novel focuses on the description of the legal process, rather than on deep character building. However, the narrative for the main character Jack Carney is very well developed. He is a successful lawyer, but he is loyal to his friend, which causes some problems at the firm. The reader is treated to many details about his former profession in Air Force personnel; which will peak the interest of any military fan. With his private life causing turmoil, Jack is left to balance his profession with his personal life.
Although some details from Connor’s past are shown, his life – except some basic facts – and his characteristics stay a mystery until the end. Connor’s wife, Mary Beth and their son, Scot play a big role during the trial, yet in some cases, the motives of Mary Beth’s behavior were unclear for me.
Carl Roberts’ book is a fantastic addition to the legal drama genre. The main idea of the book is intriguing and creates a strong base for a stunning story.
Pages: 215 | ASIN: B07RC95PZZ
Articulate and full of spiritualism, Heart of a Warrior Angel by Lali A. Love is a journey not only in the world but within oneself. Our protagonist, Lilac, reflects on her life’s path as she reaches her twilight years. She recalls her journey through life as she crosses literal and metaphorical oceans to become the person she is in the moment. We learn her life story, her heartache, and her triumphs. We celebrate and grieve with her as this book lays bare the raw emotions that entangle themselves with the journey of life.
Heart of a Warrior Angel drips with dramatic tension, and excellent descriptions of the living situation Lilac regales us with is moving and heart rendering. It is a metaphysical thriller, with a touch of supernatural fantasy, following one woman’s journey through the hell on earth she was forced to live as she comes to terms with her ascension onto a spiritual plane deserving of her essence.
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The Monk follows Detective Laskey and ex- detective Billy as they attempt to solve a murder while trying to overcome their past. What was the driving motivation behind this book?
The relationship between long time Police partners is unique. Only that between soldiers in combat is comparable. Investigation is far more interviewing, looking at crime scenes and bodies than it is portrayed on television. If you got in a shooting every week like on television, I can guarantee you a lot of Departmental therapy.
You never hear about all the men and women who put on the badge and hit the streets every night, often putting themselves in harms way for people they don’t even know and fulfilling the Oaths and Vows they made. These Officers never get any press and the “Bad Cops” get more press than they deserve.
I hope “The Monk Mysteries” will give more press to the “Good Cops” and provide the reader some insight as to the emotional battles that come with the job while trying to live a normal life.
I could really feel the old camaraderie between Laskey and Billy in this book. What served as sources of inspiration for you while creating their relationship?
Personal experience with longtime Partners. In particular, a guy named Jack, who passed away several years ago and far too soon. We were tight at work and off-duty for years. We worked Patrol, Narcotics and K-9 for years. However, there came a time when a similar situation as depicted in the book, as to a job change caused some friction. We went our separate ways but were able to re-connect before Jack passed away.
What has been the most surprising feedback you’ve gotten from your readers about the book?
Most often is how strong and independent the female characters are. This wasn’t a conscious act on my part rather, it is the type of women that are required to deal with the males in the book. They are also like so many of the women I have known and admired in my life.
This is book one in the Monk Series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
“THE MONK Vol 1 Revised ed” is a revised version of The Monk I wrote ten years ago. After writing ‘The Gumdrop House Affair” Vol 2, of the Monk Mysteries, which has been on Kindle Best seller list for two years, I realized that I had become more confident in my writing and needed to revise the first version of the Monk. Same characters and on Capitol Hill but better and hopefully more entertaining for the Reader.
A Catholic Priest talking about Evil is not unusual. However, a Catholic Priest looking directly into the eyes of “Evil” who the Monk calls “The Ugly” is unusual even for the Capitol Hill area of Denver and St. Benedict the Moor’s Church. This is just one of the “Spiritual Tests” the Monk faces as he attempts to solve the murder of Julia Lopez with his ex-Partner Det. Sgt. Jack Laskey.
With political pressure applied by the Governor, the Archbishop of Denver and the Franciscan Provincial, The Monk becomes a “Special Consultant” and helps Laskey solve the “Murder of the Decade” and save his position which was in jeopardy due to his inability to adjust to any Partner other than the Monk. During the course of the investigation the Monk faces the “Ugly” in many forms in the present and confrontations from the past. Those confrontations led the Monk to become a Priest and a “Spiritual Warrior” as well as a “Physical Warrior.” Leaving the and security of “Our Lady of the Rockies” Orphanage run by his Order, the Monk must return to the streets of Denver and find the killers with Laskey.
William Yeats Butler known as “The Monk” on Capitol Hill gave up a promising career in the NFL to become a Policeman. He had been an All-American at Notre Dame and was a local Hero and role model in Denver. Through 10 years with Laskey as his Partner, they worked Patrol, Narcotics and Homicide. They were the “Toughest Cops” on the streets of Denver. In their quest they are assisted by Irish/Japanese Officer Mai Li McDuff. Some would say she got the worst of both cultures; “Peaches” the transvestite hooker; “Popcan Charley” a resident of Cheeseman Park; “Mikey” the restaurant owner with Mob connections and “Frank” the only “Irish English Bulldog” in Colorado – all this under the watchful eyes of Father Ian Timony, Father Augustus O’Shea and Aunt Rhoda Williams.