Duplicity by Maralyn Frances is a delightful mix of a novel that is a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, and a whole lot of fun. It is a charming amalgam, being both thoughtful as well as a little quirky and outrageous, in a good way. Frances succeeds in balancing serious topics such as guilt, physical and emotional abuse, and grief with the exciting and fast-paced romance of the main characters. My favorite part of Duplicity was its structure: I adored that the third half of the novel is told from the perspective of protagonist Toby Wendell, the middle third recounts the same series of events but from another character’s perspective, and the concluding third brings the story together with a heartwarming and surprising close. While the turn of events of Duplicity may, at the surface level, appear almost impossible to readers stuck in reality, it is an engrossing read to escape the drudgery of everyday life and it will charm readers with its full-hearted plot.
Duplicity centers on Toby Wendell, the up-and-coming executive of his father’s agricultural equipment company located in rural Australia. With Toby, Frances has created a handsome, well-read, and thoughtful lead star who is delightfully tasty to read about. Toby has the piercing eyes and the chiseled body, as well as a university-educated and well-traveled intellect, making him a triple-threat to the unsuspecting women of his small hometown. But, one evening, Toby happens across a forlorn beautiful, young woman on the side of the road, and his world is unexpectedly turned upside down. With Toby and the mystery woman, Frances crafts a unique relationship that builds in heat over the pages, tantalizing readers with its colorful and tempting language. And, just when you’re getting settled in with Toby’s story, Duplicity takes you back to the beginning to show you the story from a very different set of eyes. Personally, I loved being able to see the same series of events from two characters’ perspectives, and I enjoyed imagining how fun Duplicity would be to watch as a movie due to this unique structure.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about Duplicity was how Frances kept the plotline varied and moving quickly. It could be possible that reading the same story twice, effectively, could become dull with other authors, but Frances does a truly impeccable job of hiding “Easter eggs” throughout the middle third of the novel for readers to rediscover after having already read them. I would give the novel four stars, detracting only because the nascence of Toby’s romance with his mystery woman felt a little inappropriate at times. I understand it is a fictitious novel with a romantic storyline, but the idea that mid-thirties Toby pursued the romance while admitting to being unsure of whether his new paramour was a teenager or twenty-something made me cringe.
Overall, Duplicity is a thoroughly enjoyable and unique book to read. The plot will surprise and delight; the romance scenes will fill readers with romance and excitement; and the characters will begin to feel like real-life friends. With Duplicity, Frances creates a world for readers to escape to and soak up the feelings of overcoming grief, coming to terms with guilt, and falling in love anew.
Pages: 380 | ASIN: B081TN17CM
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
Rafael Abeden has reached the point in a Raiden males life that it was time to find a mate. Raiden males have the problem of not being able to procreate with their own species so Rafael must find another one to claim and fall in love with. He is set on finding a human woman like his best friend, and prince, Nicolai did. Rafael heads to earth with Nicolai and his mate Abby where he meets her best friend Aaliyah. At once he knew she was the one for him. Aaliyah has had a hard life of abuse and mistreatment. Rafael wants to take all her pain away and show her what it is to feel love. This is a tremendous battle and along the way both discover things they never knew were possible all while trying to stop Nicolai’s enemies from killing him and Abby.
The setting for this novel is mostly aboard the ship Qadira. They use the reference of Star Trek a lot to try and explain things as that is a known cultural norm. The descriptions of the different aliens they encounter are vivid and well thought out. As with the Star Trek references, she uses a lot of human descriptions or animals or dinosaurs to convey what is happening on the alien worlds. This makes it easy for the reader to identify with Aaliyah seeing things for the first time.
As we get deeper into the book and learn about Aaliyah’s past, I felt the anger and frustrations that she has from living through so much pain. Seeing how she was treated by other humans before leaving Earth filled me with anger. This is a testament to Denna Holm’s ability to pull emotions from the reader and give them a connection to the characters. You want to see Aaliyah happy; you feel Abby’s anger at the male posturing, Samantha is your typical teenager and stubborn but adventurous all in one. All the women are fighters, none are weak and docile. The Raiden men appreciate these traits and encourage them.
Of all the different aliens mentioned in the book, I found the Djinn especially interesting. This book hinted that possibly the next one will go more into the Djinn people and how they tie in with the Raiden’s, or at least I hope so. Claimed by Rafa was a unique and deeply engaging novel. I look forward to reading more novels from Denna Holm and certainly more entries int this fantastic series.
Pages: 332 | ASIN: B088G25F9H
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, claimed by rafa, denna holm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, scifi, space opera, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
The Scented Bones follows a young forensic anthropologist thrown into the middle of a feud between vampires and werewolves. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. When I was in college, taking an English class, most essays and books were boring until the professor chose his book. The book inspired discussions and gained attention of the students. It had power and I wanted to have similar power over my readers with my writing.
This book has been in the works for more than 5 years. It has gone through 5 drafts, including Angel being a university student and main character to be Rayne and not Gage. However, that draft seemed to read more like about street gangs and so I worked hard to make it more like mafia families.
The Scented book is the first in the series and in every book I’ll introduce more characters and families. Hopefully, my books will inspire readers to read more and even try their hand at writing.
Angel is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I didn’t want her to be perfect. I wanted her to be smart but timid. Serious but with surprising funny moments. I wanted her to tread carefully when it comes to relationships and focus on the job. But, what I wanted to show was how she looked at magic. Of how she was afraid of what she was and what she could do.
I enjoyed the backstory and mythology embedded in this world between the vampires and werewolves. What were some sources of inspiration that helped you create this world?
Most inspiration came from the characters themselves. Originally all characters were mundanes and as the book progressed into the paranormal, the characters became their other selves. When I was re writing them, I was thinking that if they weren’t paranormal born, how would they shift if bitten? How would they act if they were born?
I tried staying away from other paranormal books about vampires and werewolves to keep my characters original.
Where will the next book in The Svabodina Case Files pick up and when will it be available?
The next book will pick up a couple of weeks after the last scene in The Scented Bones with a new case. The new case will involve a serial killer.
At the moment, I have about 20 chapters written. I’m going back to editing these chapters before finishing the book because I have to add information to the already written ones in order to write the scenes with the actual killer. It is a lot of work and I have a chapter summary file that I go back to for each chapter. I’m tracking dates, character appearances, etc.
I’m not sure when it will be out, hopefully next year. The Scented Bones has been republished by a publisher! So, I’ll work closely with the publisher for book 2 as well. It’s super exciting! Book 2 is titled – The Puzzle of Bones.
Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.
She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.
When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?
Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. Rights and wrongs become blurred, as she is tormented by her past and accepting who she truly is while searching for the skeleton. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?
Posted in Interviews
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Stolen Time (Community Chronicles Book Two) by Jenn Lees is a time travel fiction story about a dystopian future. The book begins in the Scottish Highlands in the year 2056, then jumps back to Present Day. After the U.S. Stock Market crash, plunging the world into chaos, Scott Campbell saves Caitlin Murray from a mob, but there’s something strange about him. He acts like he knows her, and he seems to know future events. He claims that he must protect her because she’s needed for her coming role as a great leader. Caitlin thinks he’s crazy, until he proves that everything he’s said is true. Will Scott be able to keep himself and Caitlin alive amid violence and the fall of human society? Or will his act of traveling to the past change everything about the future?
This book has an interesting premise and I enjoyed reading the story. Although it is Book Two in the Community Chronicles, this story can be read without reading the first book. The Glossary of Scottish Words at the end of the book is helpful for readers unfamiliar with some of the terms used by the characters.
The author’s descriptions of the chaos and struggles for immediate survival were vivid and I could picture what Caitlin and Scott were seeing and experiencing as they escaped from Edinburgh. But then the book got bogged down a bit by a slow pace when they hid out in a cabin in the Highlands, while Scott taught Caitlin survival and fighting skills. This section did not hold my interest as well as the rest of the story, when they were in constant danger.
The portions of the story that take place in Present Day were told primarily from Caitlin’s point of view. At the beginning, I felt just as confused as Caitlin since I didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on and I didn’t know why Scott acted like he knew her when she first meets him. It is only later that he tells her the details of their relationship. Once Scott revealed their connection in the future, I would have liked to see more glimpses into his “past” with scenes from his point of view. In either case, this slow build up and reveal was intriguing and, I thought, the best part of the novel.
I liked the interactions between Caitlin and Scott, and I enjoyed the romantic element in the story, which showed a love that spanned across different timelines. As soon as I finished the story, I immediately wanted to start reading Book Three in the series, Rory’s (Caitlin and Scott’s son) story.
Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0987644807
Tags: action, action adventure, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, futureistic, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, Jenn Lees, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, Stolen Time, story, suspense, time travel, writer, writer community, writing
If anyone tells you hunting ghosts is less dangerous than chasing down real-life criminals, they’re wrong. Very, very wrong.
Case two takes us to a New Jersey Shore Inn. A beautiful, yet dead opera singer seems to be begging for help, but her pleas do nothing but terrorize the locals.
While trying to decipher the clues to her 1919 disappearance, uncovering hair-raising horrors, it becomes clear that Jason and I no longer see eye-to-eye.
Jason wants me to stop meddling with the supernatural. He wants me to stop risking my life by interacting with demons and spirits.
What he doesn’t understand is this is my life. These tortured souls need my help in order to move on. How do I walk away from that—from them?
But the better question is—how do I walk away from him?
Posted in book trailer
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Rachel is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
I decided to set her character around my own experience as a nurse in my earlier years and incorporate places I have visited.
This was a mystery novel that was filled with unexpected twists. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?
I wanted to capture Myanmar particularly as it really is a beautiful country with lovely, friendly people. I have visited Myanmar 5 times so I guess that speaks for itself. The book just evolved on one of my visits to Burma, when sitting at the beach after visiting their main jewelry market (Scot’s Market) where there was a plethora of ruby’s on sale.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have since written 2 other books of different genre. The Power of Childhood Dreams ( a pre-teen book) and Turn Pain Off – both of which are under my marital name. Linda Hehir.
Kidnapping Mystery: A thrilling adventure with a touch of romance and an unexpected turn of events.
Derek young man arrives at the hospital unconscious. Rachel, a nurse, finds strange objects in Derek’s shoes. Facing an ethical dilemma, Rachel investigates the objects further. The theft of Derek’s clothes from the ward and Rachel’s bedroom being ransacked indicates that Derek’s attacker is still looking for something he desperately wants. Alerted of these events Rachel began to feel anxious that her life could be in danger through inadvertently becoming the temporary custodian of the strange objects she found amongst Derek’s property. Upon Derek awakening, she felt compelled to help him. In asking for Rachel’s help to save his child, Derek sets in motion a course of events that leads himself, Rachel and Max, the grandson of an Australian exporter based in Thailand, into dangerous territory. Travelling halfway across the world transporting the ransom to save Derek’s child, Rachel is kidnapped in Thailand and transported to Myanmar (Burma) and in the process of risking her life falls in love – a love destined to ….
Ruby Ransom is a unique combination of mystery, suspense thriller, romance and includes a medical theme. It brings together three strangers, where trust, fortitude, courage and intuition are required to help save a child from captivity, with an unexpected outcome.
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The Love of Gods, written by Tarrant Smith is the first book in the paranormal romance series, The Legends of the Pale.
The story is an intriguing combination of a murder mystery and love story. As with any good romance, the story has a masculine hero – Lugos. Despite being a god, Lugos prefers the company of humans. Whilst Lugo is investigating the death of a high-ranking witch his relationship with Keely Ann Lee, a Southern bar tender develops from a simple friendship into romance. Unbeknownst to Keely, Lugos has loved her over several different lifetimes. This time, he will do all he can to protect this mere mortal.
The story is set in Pale, which are a group of supernatural communities, but the characters are spread over different physical locations including Ireland and America.
There is a large and daunting cast of characters, which appear and disappear throughout the book. The author provides a comprehensive character list at the beginning, which is appreciated, but flipping back and forth gets a bit disruptive. The number of characters is further complicated by the fact that these are paranormal characters such as demons, witches, gods, shifters, demigoddesses and familiars. Each character has their own special powers as well as personality and location. That said, it did not take long to get my head around the number of characters and any fan of epic expansive fantasy novels will appreciate the intricate backstory that Tarrant Smith ha created.
Interwoven into the story are both paranormal and human experiences. Characters constantly move from using human technology such as cell phones, luxury cars, classic cars, security systems and Google maps to teleportation and shape shifting. They move from the mundane such as using passports to shifting from human form to animal form. This adds interest and intrigue and ensures the story is fast moving.
The dialogue between characters is rich and realistic and enhances the relationship between characters. The tale is also enhanced with some interesting metaphors, for example, Keely is described at one point as “a puddle of need”; which is my new favorite phrase.
The Love of Gods is a well written story. The dialogue is engrossing and most of the characters and their loyalties are intricate but explained in depth. Both the love story and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07PWB8V36
Tags: A Gina Myoko Mystery, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, god, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, magic, mystery, nook, novel, occult, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, supernatural, Tarrant Smith, The Love of Gods, witch, wizard, writer, writer community, writing