General Fiction

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Gustave Flaubert: The Ambiguity of Imagination by Giuseppe Cafiero

Synopsis:

What would happen if a character, even if only roughly sketched in the mind of a writer, decided to take on a life independent of his creator in order to take revenge against all the other characters that this author had created in his other books?

This is what happens to the legendary writer Gustave Flaubert, when his character Harel-Bey comes to life with a grudge to bear. Even the imaginary characters of books that Monsieur Flaubert has never actually written, but had long pondered and discussed with his most intimate friends, begin to stir with their own motivations.

Quite unexpectedly, Harel-Bey begins a long and difficult journey through the writings of Monsieur Flaubert to try to understand the reasons that induced the writer to write so many books and stories, but never the one that would have had him as leading protagonist. As a vengeful killer, Harel-Bey is determined to murder all of the protagonists of the books and stories Flaubert has written.

In the company of a certain Monsieur Bouvard, himself the star of another book which Flaubert had started but never finished, Harel-Bey seeks his revenge. There’s will be a mission rich in disturbing discoveries, revealing the reasons and the irrationalities of fictionalised reality and unreal fiction.

About The Work of Gustave Flaubert:

It was almost a duty to write about Gustave Flaubert.

Flaubert is a unique writer, sublime in his stylistic perfection. A very good reason to be intrigued, so that it’s all the more interesting to explore him, his work as a writer, his life.

An arduous journey but a rewarding one, because Flaubert remains inimitable and he reciprocates every effort to know him with fascinating and unexpected discoveries that prompt investigations and explorations. Flaubert created a myriad of unforgettable characters whom he then released so that they could live their own lives in the minds of his readers.

Therefore, I thought that it would be very stimulating to write a story which would also involve the characters in Flaubert’s books, to allow them to experience a fascinating and different adventure.

Almost an irregular book that would, in some way, go beyond the classic and stereotyped schemes of narrative tradition to explore distinctive notes from a different, perhaps even dark and suggestive, perspective, and above all with the urgent and emotional participation of one sitting down to write, nurturing a particular admiration for Flaubert.

A true interest and a particular interest are the primary reasons for my journey into Flaubert’s world. Almost an intimate and specular journey characterized by two primary elements: his life and the characters in his books. These two ingredients, never so specifically explored in other writings on Flaubert, were, in my opinion, fundamental in Flaubert’s literary life and thus they became the pillars on which to construct a sequence of events, a narrative, a literary game.

Then there are the obsessions. Obsessions that were almost a paradigm necessary to better understand Flaubert the man and the writer. Obsessions that were subtle and tragic spells that consumed him slowly and inexorably. Especially the obsessions with writing, the obsessions with creativity, the obsession with an imposed solitude when he took to living in his Croisset retreat along the banks of the Seine among roses and honeysuckles, the obsession with satisfying and unsatisfying loves: for his mother and for his mistress Louise Colet.

A life that appeared to be a frantic and relentless race toward already reached and unreachable goals previously proposed as destinations to be conquered, hence a painful race without him ever having set aside that manifest rationality of principle that always governed his life.

Flaubert also represented, and represents, a particular moment in regard to any type of traditions, customs and consolidated habits in nineteenth-century writing. Flaubert’s was an artistic break implemented and practised by means of an operational complexity that involved him as a man able to put himself on the line against an excessively conformist society.

When we consider his choice as a writer able to overcome past customs of writing and of psychological investigations of the characters he created, what immediately stands out is his specificity in the care taken in the writing he proposed as an absolute communicative sign, as a unique occasion to present images that seem alive and an integral part of the narrative discourse.

Thus Flaubert recounts the plots and the characters through the use of expressive notes which provide, with a magical commitment and iron will, a persuasive and enchanted tale, an incomparable sign of writing.

For Flaubert, writing becomes a mission, almost a rite. A votive ritual for which there is significant value in narrating stories that must respect a rite which is no longer the bourgeois rite but an investigation capable of demonstrating new sensations whilst experimenting with new languages.

In the definition of his narrative style, reality assumes a value that is almost a moving immortality rich in compelling drama, because quite often life is not always full of mellow merriments, of affable sweetness, of pleasant realities.

Indeed the writing is used to express feelings and to evoke and arouse strong emotions, exactly in the contrasts when characters are placed side by side. The style is characterized principally by assiduously sought words, able to create three-dimensional effects in a choral ensemble that is a unique representation of writing hitherto never employed or conceived.

Therefore, Flaubert’s writings are imbued with vitality in a form that seems to caress expressionist tones. A continuous theme that leads to precise, intimate, persuasive writing. On closer look, it is nothing but writing with dimensions limited to places and people: people become necessary to survive, thus to participate in the story, in life, in becoming.

It was necessary then to define the places, the circumstances, the people. Places as identities of a life, circumstances as a mirror of psychological conditions, people as occasions to decipher sentiments.

Flaubert was, therefore, a unique, decidedly innovative writer, a precise calibrator of feelings and events.

About the Author:

Giuseppe Cafiero is a prolific writer of plays and fiction who has produced numerous programs for the Italian-Swiss Radio, Radio Della Svizzera Italiana, and Slovenia’s Radio Capodistria. The author of ten published works focusing on cultural giants from Vincent Van Gogh to Edgar Allan Poe, Cafiero lives in Italy, in the Tuscan countryside.

It was an honour to have Giuseppe Cafiero guest post today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

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For more information on Giuseppe Cafiero, visit his website at: giuseppecafiero.com

or follow him on Facebook at: giuseppe.scrittore

#BookReview
A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery
@SusanMallery @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery @SusanMallery @HarlequinBooksTitle: A Million Little Things

Author: Susan Mallery

Series: Mischief Bay #3

Published by: Mira Books on February 28, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Girls of Mischief Bay and The Friends We Keep comes a twisty tale of family dynamics that explores what can go terribly, hysterically wrong when the line between friendship and family blurs 

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single-she’s ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it’s up to her to stop living in isolation.

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated-her first new friend is Jen’s widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen’s brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe’s own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam’s flustered, Jen’s annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think “alone” doesn’t sound so bad, after all.

Friendship isn’t just one thing-it’s a million little things, and no one writes them with more heart and humor than book club sensation Susan Mallery! 


Review:

Charming, lighthearted and thought-provoking!

This is an affecting novel that reminds us of the importance to always live life to the fullest, understand and accept that some things are beyond our control and that there truly is no age limit for falling in love. 

The writing is smooth and even. The main female characters are strong, determined, sympathetic and real. And the plot is a heartfelt journey full of self discovery, friendship, familial relationships, love, loss, and motherhood.

This is the third novel in the Mischief Bay series and once again Mallery has written a novel that is touching, compelling and highly entertaining.

 

This book is due to be published on February 28, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

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Thank you to NetGalley, especially Harlequin – MIRA for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Susan Mallery

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Photo by Annie Brady

#BookReview
The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor @PGCBooks

#BookReview The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor @PGCBooksTitle: The House of New Beginnings

Author: Lucy Diamond

Published by: Pan Macmillan on February 24, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Number 11, Dukes Square, looks just like the other houses on the Brighton seafront: a Regency terrace with elegant sash windows, a winding staircase, and post piled up in the hall for its tenants. It might be part of the city’s history, but it’s also a place of brand new beginnings.

Georgie has followed her childhood sweetheart to Brighton but is determined to carve out a career for herself in journalism. Throwing herself into the city’s delights is fun and exciting, but before she knows it, she’s sliding into all kinds of trouble . . . 

Charlotte’s in the city for a new start, hoping to keep her head down and somehow get over the heartbreaking loss she’s suffered in the past. But Margot, the stylish old lady on the top floor, has other ideas. Like it or not, Charlotte must confront the outside world, and the possibilities it still holds.

A terrible revelation sent Rosa running from London to start again as a sous chef. The work is gruelling and thankless but it’s a distraction at least . . . until she comes up against the stroppy teenager next door who challenges her on her lifestyle choices. What if Rosa’s passion for food could lead her to more interesting places?

As the three tenants find each other, it’s as if a whole new chapter of their lives has begun. The House of New Beginnings is a moving and uplifting novel from bestselling author Lucy Diamond.


Review:

Absorbing, beguiling, and incredibly touching!

This is a heartwarming story that reminds us to always live life to the fullest and never be afraid to try something new.

The prose is effortless. The plot is a wonderful blend of heart, humour and hope. And the characterization is spot on with a wonderful cast of characters, including some strong, determined, courageous women who learn through compassion and friendship to let go of the past and embrace the future.

This is, ultimately, a story about dreams, heartbreak, goals, loss, love and finding one’s true self and I absolutely adored it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and in the end it left me smiling.

 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lucy Diamond

Lucy Diamond lives in Bath, England with her husband and their three children. She has penned numerous bestselling novels, including The House of New Beginnings, The Secrets of Happiness, Summer at Shell Cottage, and The Year of Taking Chances.

#BookReview
My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
@KinsellaSophie @randomhouse

#BookReview My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @randomhouseTitle: My Not So Perfect Life

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Published by: Bantam Press on February 7, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, General Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.


Review:

Humorous, amusing and heartwarming!

Departing slightly from her usual fanciful romantic comedies, in this latest novel Kinsella writes a story that is rich in character development and touches on the pitfalls of pretense, unrealistic perception, social media fallacies, and finding one’s true self all in a plot laced with humour, lightheartedness and a touch of romance.

The writing is crisp and witty. And the characters are a quirky, unique bunch that are likeable, flawed and genuine.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, thought-provoking story filled with cheeky banter and spirited hijinks that will definitely make you laugh and entertain you for hours.

 

This book is due to be published on February 7, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBook DepositoryB&N

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in London with her husband and family. She is also the author of several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham.

#BookReview
Always by Sarah Jio
@sarahjio

#BookReview Always by Sarah Jio  @sarahjioTitle: Always

Author: Sarah Jio

Published by: Ballantine Books on February 7, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A gripping novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember, from the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March

Enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crain can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a journalist and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As she and Ryan leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.


Review:

Captivating, thought-provoking, and deeply moving!

Always is a poignant novel that delves into the emotional, physical and mental anguish suffered by those inflicted with brain trauma and touches on the hardships, prejudices and struggles experienced by those who find themselves homeless.

The prose is polished and precise. The characters are consumed, troubled and genuine. And the story which contains a subtle element of mystery is written in a back and forth, past/present style that gives a wonderful appreciation and depth to all the situations, personalities and relationships within it.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel about friendship, loss, jealousy, compassion, life and enduring love, but I have to say I still prefer Jio’s historical fiction novels, particularly “The Bungalow” which is still one of my all-time favourites.

 

 This novel is due to be published on February 7, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryKoboB&N

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Ballantine for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sarah Jio

Sarah Jio is the New York Times bestselling author of ALWAYS, published by Random House (Ballantine), as well as seven other novels from Penguin Books, including, THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, THE BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE LAST CAMELLIA, MORNING GLORY, GOODNIGHT JUNE, and THE LOOK OF LOVE. Sarah is also a journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, and many others. She has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Her novels are translated into more than 25 languages. Sarah lives in Seattle with her three young boys.

#BookReview
The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
@annapitoniak @leeboudreauxbks

#BookReview The Futures by Anna Pitoniak @annapitoniak @leeboudreauxbksTitle: The Futures

Author: Anna Pitoniak

Published by: Little Brown and Company on January 17, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Little Brown and Company, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this dazzling debut novel about love and betrayal and redemption, a young couple moves to New York City to prove their mettle and to find success—only to learn that such success may come with dangerous strings attached.

Julia and Evan falls in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blonde, beautiful and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined.

Rich with suspense and insight, Pitoniak’s thrilling debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections to one another and to ourselves. THE FUTURES is a glittering story of a couple coming of age and a tender, searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in a city that often seems determined to break us down—but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.


Review:

Compelling, insightful and satisfying!

This a coming-of-age story set in New York City during the financial crisis of 2008 and follows the lives of two Yale graduates who come from completely different backgrounds as they struggle to maintain their relationship and successfully achieve all their hopes, dreams and career goals.

For me what was clear throughout the novel was the ideology that life is not predictable; it always throws you a few curve balls.

The writing is well done. The characters are young, naive and self-indulgent. And the plot is a sequence of events steeped in deception, loneliness, denial, heartache, acceptance, and forgiveness that leads each character to undergo a form of introspection to recognize what’s truly important.

Overall this is a good debut novel that will definitely resonate with many people who have also found themselves daunted after post-secondary education.

 

This book is due to be published on January 17, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaKoboBarnes & Noble

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Lee Boudreaux Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anna Pitoniak

Anna Pitoniak is an editor at Random House. She graduated from Yale in 2010, where she majored in English and was an editor at the Yale Daily News. She grew up in Whistler, British Columbia, and now lives in New York City.

#BookReview
Love, Alice by Barbara Davis
@bdavisauthor

#BookReview Love, Alice by Barbara Davis @bdavisauthorTitle: Love, Alice

Author: Barbara Davis

Published by: Berkley on December 6, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Berkley Publishing, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of Summer at Hideaway Key comes a sweeping new Southern women’s fiction novel about forgiving the past one letter at a time…

The truth lies between the lines…

A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.

Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.

As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…


Review:

Perceptive, haunting, and profoundly thought-provoking!

This is a heartbreakingly sweet novel that delves into the emotional, physical and mental anguish experienced by young pregnant girls who historically were spurned, institutionalized and forced to give up their babies, and the incredible power and importance of hope and forgiveness.

The prose is eloquent and beautifully descriptive. The characters are determined, intelligent, consumed, and sorrowful. And the story is written in a back and forth, past/present style that gives a wonderful depth and understanding to all the subplots, relationships, and predicaments within it.

Overall this is, ultimately, an intriguing, deeply moving novel about familial relationships, friendship, love, loss, secrets, abandonment, guilt and grief.

 

This book is due to be published on December 6, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Barbara Davis

Author of The Secrets She Carried (Penguin/NAL) The Wishing Tide, (Penguin NAL) Summer at Hideaway Key (Penguin.NAL) Love, Alice. (Penguin/Berkley) December, 2016. And com in in October 2017, When Never Comes (Lake Union)

#BookReview
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley

#BookReview The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley @lucindarileyTitle: The Seven Sisters

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #1

Published by: Atria Books on May 5, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 463

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.


Review:

Intriguing, heartwarming, and incredibly captivating!

This is the first book in “The Seven Sisters” series and boy is it a good one.

This is the story of Maia, a young woman who embarks on a journey to discover her parentage and ancestry after recently suffering the loss of her beloved, adoptive father. 

It is predominantly set in Rio, Brazil during both the late 1920s, as well as present day, and is told from two perspectives, Maia and Maia’s maternal great-grandmother, Izabela.

The story, itself, is a sweeping saga filled with self discovery, family, loss, determination, strength, grief, heartbreak, happiness, and everlasting love; as well as an in-depth look into the culture, history and landmarks of Rio, complete with the construction of the iconic Christ the Redeemer and the boom and subsequent demise of the coffee industry.

The prose is precise, poetic, and exquisitely descriptive. And the characters are multi-faceted, genuine, empathetic, and engaging. 

I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first about the size of this novel, but don’t be daunted. This is truly a powerful, fascinating story that will make you cry, make you smile and will have you mesmerized from start to finish.

I can honestly say that after reading this novel, The Storm Sister (Book #2) available now, and The Shadow Sister (Book #3) releasing soon, will be jumping to the top of your “to read” pile.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following links. You won’t be disappointed.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

#BookReview & #BlogTour
The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen
@Lesley_Allen_

#BookReview & #BlogTour The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen @Lesley_Allen_Title: The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir

Author: Lesley Allen

Published by: Bonnier Zaffre on November 3, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 344

Format: Paperback

Source: Bonnier Zaffre

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Biddy Weir is a shy young loner. Abandoned by her mother as a baby, and with a father who’s not quite equipped for the challenges of modern parenting, Biddy lives in her own little world, happy to pass her time painting by the sea and watching the birds go by.

With no friends, no schoolbag, and, worst of all, no mother, Biddy is branded a ‘Bloody Weirdo’ by the most popular girl in her primary school.

What follows is a heart-breaking tale of bullying and redemption, of falling down and of starting again, and of one woman’s battle to learn to love herself for who she is.

Set in a fictional seaside town in Northern Ireland, the novel is a stark illustration of the extent to which bullying can affect us all, beyond just the victim and perpetrator.

Spare, dark and often unrelenting, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir is a story with universal appeal, which ultimately affirms the value of being different.


Review:

Haunting, heartbreakingly poignant, and exceptionally thought-provoking!

This is an incredibly intriguing novel that delves into the emotional and physical suffering experienced when targeted, ostracized and bullied from an early age, and reminds us how hostile, cruel and passive children can sometimes be.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The main character, Biddy, is multi-layered, unique, wounded, naive, and endearing. And the plot is thoroughly captivating and engrossing as it sweeps you along through the highs and lows of Biddy’s life effortlessly.

This is, ultimately, a deeply moving, remarkable story about loneliness, torment, injustice, diffidence, family, friendship, and self-love that will make you cry; make you smile; and will resonate with you long after the final page has been turned.

 

This novel is due to be published in paperback on November 3, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

And what does a “Writing Day” look like for Leslie Allen?

My dream average writing day would go something like this: rise at seven to a glorious, gently warm, blue-sky day, preferably on a Greek Island. A sea view would be good. I’d do a few yoga stretches out on the terrace to the sound of the goats softly bleating on the hill behind, followed by a healthy breakfast of my own homemade muesli with peaches from my neighbour’s orchard, local honey, and fresh yoghurt made by the goat herder who lives down the road. After a cup of green tea, I’d retire to my zen-zone office – whitewashed walls, blue shuttered windows that overlook the matching blue Aegean, a simple wooden writing desk that once belonged to a famous Greek author, and a chair specially made for me by the local (very handsome) carpenter. I’d bash out a few hundred words, hell, let’s make it 1,000, before breaking for a jog on the beach…

The reality is somewhat different. I do rise at seven, but I live in Northern Ireland, so the warm, blue-sky day thing only happens twice a year. Three times if we’re lucky. In my head I’m a yoga girl – but I tried it once, and my dodgy knees couldn’t hack it. I like the idea of muesli but I just can’t do currants, and green tea makes me gag. My office at the top of the house is a tip – well, not quite a tip, but it hasn’t been painted since I moved here two years ago, and still serves as the ‘if you don’t know where to put it dump it in there’ room. The desk is ugly and bulky, and the chair used to belong to my ex-husband. I get wind just sitting in it. And I can’t jog the length of myself.

As for the 1,000 words – when I do get full days to dedicate to writing (which are rare in between juggling work as a freelance copywriter & press officer, being a single mum, keeping a feral cat in line, trying to learn the words ‘sorry, I can’t do that today, I’m writing’, and cleaning toilets – the curse of the procrastinator) they usually do flow with relative ease. But, basically, no day in my life is average, never mind a writing one. I’m going to hold onto that dream writing day on my Greek island though, as I know for a fact that dreams really can come true. As I type this at my ugly desk, sitting in the chair that gives me wind, the most beautiful thing in the world (apart, of course, from my daughter – just in case she reads this!) is propped up right beside my laptop: my very own copy of my very own book. It took a while, but that dream came true, so why not the Greek one! In the meantime, I’m happy with my lot. I have a book, I have the tools to write another one, and I even have a sea view. It’s more of a grey-green than a deep blue one, but I love it.

It’s probably time to buy a new chair, though.

 

Thank you to twenty7 – Bonnier Zaffre and Lesley Allen for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It was a real pleasure and honour to read.

 

About Lesley Allen

Lesley Allen lives in Bangor, County Down. She is a freelance copywriter and the press officer and assistant programme developer for Open House Festival. Lesley is previous recipient of the James Kilfedder Memorial Bursary, and two Support for the Individual Artist Art’s Council Awards. She was named as one of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s 2016 Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) recipients for literature. She will be using the award to complete her second book.

 

And for more information on other titles available from twenty7, Bonnier Zaffre visit them at:

twenty7books.co.uk or on Twitter at: @BonnierZaffre

 

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#BookReview #Blog Tour #Giveaway
Moondance by Diane Chandler @Dchandlerauthor @Blackbird_Bks

#BookReview #Blog Tour #Giveaway Moondance by Diane Chandler @Dchandlerauthor @Blackbird_BksTitle: Moondance

Author: Diane Chandler

Published by: Blackbird Digital Books on October 31, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Blackbird Digital Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

IVF could create a baby but could it also destroy a marriage?

Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family … until she herself is ready.

But what if it is then too late?

Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey.

Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before.

Bittersweet, at times funny, and always emotionally raw, this is by far the most moving and honest novel you’ll ever read about IVF and its impact on a marriage.


Review:

Insightful, poignant, and profoundly touching!

This is an incredibly intriguing novel that delves into the emotional, physical and mental anguish experienced by those suffering infertility and the hardships and struggles involved in the process of IVF. 

The prose is clear and precise. The characters are consumed, self-involved, troubled, and real. And the plot is written in a back and forth, past/present, style that gives a wonderful depth and appreciation to all the relationships and personalities in it.

Overall, this, ultimately, is a thought-provoking, moving novel about familial relationships, friendship, love, loss, jealousy, guilt, and the importance of support and communication.

 

This novel is due to be published on November 1, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

 

Thank you to Blackbird Books and Diane Chandler for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It was a real honour and pleasure to read.

 

About Diane Chandler

Diane Chandler worked first as a political lobbyist in Brussels, and then at the European Commission for several years, where she managed overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Ukraine became the subject for her first novel The Road To Donetsk. Moondance, her second novel, about a high-flying career woman battling with gruelling fertility treatment, was informed by her personal experience of the emotional and physical impact of IVF. Diane lives in west London and is available for interviews, events and feature-writing commissions.

 

And for more information on other titles available from Blackbird Books visit them at:

blackbird-books.com or on Twitter at: @Blackbird_Bks

 

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