Book Review: When Ashes Fall – Marni Mann

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It’s been said that you can’t love two men at the same time.
You can’t split your heart, soul, and body in half.
But I’m here to tell you, you can.
Dylan Cole is like ice, sharp and unpredictable, the thunder inside a tumultuous storm.
Smith Reid is warmth, soft and gentle, perfect like a sunny day.
Both are mine.
But I can have only one.
There are two sides to this tale.
I’m here to tell you mine.
If you think this story is about a cheater, you couldn’t be more wrong.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

The synopsis sounds dramatic. The story is depressingly dramatic.

 

`It´s been said you can´t love two men at the same time.`

 

This synopsis is like every other one for a serious ménage á trois romance. They all promise the same but few rarely deliver the intensity a love triangle has/is supposed to have. Well, there´s no love triangle in this book. At least not in a traditional sense.

So, why did I still end up buying this book? A few spoiler-free online reviews were pretty convincing. Plus I wanted to be wowed again by a massive love story about a woman who can´t make up her mind on who she wants more.

`When Ashes Fall` by Marni Mann is a story about love, loss, heartbreak, heartache, and recovery. It´s pretty much one gloomy cloud with a few rays of sunshine… That, there, is the story in a nutshell. When ashes fall

Meeh, I wasn´t blown away. Not by this book. Although, the story on its own is okay.  It´s the writing that put me off.

 

  • The story felt like I was in some gray universe. I wanted to find the legendary Color Belt and rescue Boston with some rainbows while riding on a horse named Starlite ( I´ve been watching too many Rainbow Brite episodes )

 

  • Chapter sizes were somewhere between 4 – 7 pages. A reader is able to fly through the pages and conquer 56 chapters + an epilogue with ease. While this isn´t really story threatening it is annoying knowing you get little information per scene/ chapter. For a story as heavy and emotional as this one is I would have liked a little more description.

 

  • There was POV hopping- divided by three. Sometimes I don´t need to have a third character´s point of view unless they have something relevant to add to the story. What happened here was both men and the female protagonist had voices. It would´ve been enough if one of the men and the Heroine had their moments.  You know, maybe make things a little more interesting by not knowing EVERYTHING.

 

  • The Past & Present flips. Really, I don´t like it when stories jump back and forth.

 

  • I can buy an instant-love once. I can´t buy an instant-love twice. It´s just not going to happen. This puts a huge damper on my mood because how fat are chances an instant-love happens twice to the same person? I´m not judging. Okay, I am.

 

  • An overuse of three-word sentences.

 

 

The writing and the way the story was told didn´t do it for me at all. The POV changes interrupted my reading flow. Just when I finally felt a connection with a scene it was cut off by a time leap or a different POV.

 

Would I recommend this book? No. It´s 65% depressing and 35% hopeful. But I can totally see why others would like this book. It´s romantically depressing and can touch all the right buttons if a reader likes that. I don´t, especially with the way it´s written, so…

Would I reread this book? Nope.

 


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:   Although I´m not a fan of character images on covers I do think the woman on the front suits the Heroine just fine.

The Story – 2 Stars:   A little too depressing for my taste.

The Characters – 2 stars:   I thought Dylan was completely unnecessary. Alix- She could´ve been more convincing. Smith, on the other hand- What a great character. But the trio didn´t have enough spark for me.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Meeh.

2 stars

 



 

You can purchase `When Ashes Fall by author Marni Mann over at Amazon.com

When ashes fall

 

 

 

 

Book Cover Trends: Floral Designs

Floral prints on book covers are nothing new or special. They´ve been around for quite some time now but it seems like the book marketing department has set a new trend for book cover art.

Florals. And the floral trend is growing like wildflowers.

From pastel to bold, simple or chaotic… Flowerets are slowly dominating book covers. Gone are the tough cookie Heroines standing on a cliff from our beloved YA fantasy novels. Long forgotten are the days of having to see a cover image of cute couples cuddling against a fence. It´s all about the secret language of flowers nowadays.

But why use floral designs for book covers? Why use a lilac, a rose, or a baroque bouquet image? Well, as you may already know, flowers symbolize different things such as happiness, wealth, beauty, positivity and even death. In literature, though, flowers are often associated with love and passion… Basically what you´d most likely find in romances. It´s 2019 and we´re seeing floral images not only on romances but on nearly all kinds of fiction ( and even non-fiction) books. These days designers are using florals for a few reasons:

  • They´re story bound
  • They symbolize a theme ( depending on the flower type )
  • Marketing wants to keep it neutral and exciting
  • They´re trendy

 

For me, floral designs on book covers tell me I´m about to get my hands on something romantic.  It feels like a dead giveaway. I mean- For a non-flower expert like myself, a flower/flowers symbolizes love. And depending on the color theme and flower type on a book cover you can sort of tell in which direction the story will go. Unless I´m standing in a different genre section I´ll associate floral designs with romance.

Personally, I´m not a huge fan of floral book cover art but I´m also not against seeing colorful flowers on a book cover, either. It truly depends on the cover art and color theme for me. I have my favorites. I´ve also seen some hideous designs. Remember- A book cover should always look inviting.

The only thing I fully appreciate about floral cover designs is the fact that they´re semi-neutral. Not as in genre neutral. When I say neutral I mean that I´m not having a character image shoved in my face nor can I predict the story ( including its ending ). You know you´re getting something but you can´t read anything more into the cover.

Since this trend is spreading like weed wildflowers I decided to share some floral art from a few genres. Are you ready?


 

#1  Flowers For Fantasy

 

floral Covers Fantasy

 

Would I have thought these were fantasy novels based on the cover art alone?

Not really. If it weren´t for the book titles I would definitely think all six were romances. Okay, the crown on the fourth cover does indicate that it´s a fantasy novel but the rest? Nope. Not without the help of the titles.

Would these covers stop me in a bookstore? It´s hard to say. Although they´re all cool and beautiful to look at… The images are also very busy. Maybe if one of these were between simple colored covers.

 


 

#2  Flowerful Historicals

 

Floral Covers Historical

 

Would I have thought these were historical novels based on the cover art alone?

Yes. No. I´m leaning more towards possibly. Again, some of the images are modern and pretty neutral so the help of a title is needed in order to pinpoint the genre. And not even that is fully possible with these historicals. The fifth cover image is a dead giveaway without the title but the rest could easily pass for contemporary romances or even thrillers.

 

Would these covers stop me in a bookstore?

The second and third cover images would. Because of the stronger color contrast. The rest looks beautiful but I don´t think they´re powerful enough to stand out from other covers. Too dark and mundane for me.

 


 


 

#3 The Romance Flowers

 

Floral Covers Romance

 

 

Would I have thought these were romance novels based on the cover art alone?

Yes. This flower arrangement is typical for romance novels. A close up on a single flower with a contrasting background ( #1, #2, #3, #6 ). The floral design on #4 is a wildflower bouquet in the shape of a human heart… Yes, please!

( ignore the fact that `The Stationery Shop` cover doesn´t really belong in this genre as it´s historical, cultural fiction )

 

Would these covers stop me in a bookstore?

Some would. I have 4 of these beauties already on my bookshelf. #3 is my favorite book & book cover.  If I´m honest- the cover for #6 looks a lot like a book on how to garden ( and I avoid those books with a passion )

 


 

#4  Erotica Florals

 

Floral Covers Erotica BDSM

 

Would I have thought these were erotica novels based on the cover art alone?

Oh, absolutely. These images / the designs represent the erotica genre. I could tell from a mile away that these are erotica novels. These covers are clean and simple in a very feminine way… Nothing like the complicated stories they´re trying to sell.

Many are used to seeing other objects, such as pearls, bedsheets, bedposts, lingerie, silk, lingerie, handcuffs and whips on erotica book covers. Anything that can be associated with relationships or sex. A single flower with a black background will always be apart of the long list of favorite cover images for this genre. Do I think the flowers have anything to do with the story? Or are there any flowers in these erotica novels? To be honest- I have yet to come across an erotica novel that mentions a flower, flower arrangements or even has a bouquet in it. So, I don´t think so.

 

Would these covers stop me in a bookstore?

Yes, but not in a positive way. While these cover images tick off all the right boxes for me ( color contrast, easy on the eyes, etc ) I do think they´re outdated. There are other sensual color themes that can be used for the genre. I would like to see something less blunt.

 


 

#5  Thriller & Mystery Florals

 

Floral Covers Thrillers and Mystery

 

Would I have thought these were Thriller / Mystery novels based on the cover art alone?

Most of the cover images here are obvious. For me, #1, #4 and #5 scream Thriller or Mystery. Thriller cover art often has a specific filter over the images to make them look more mysterious. So, yes. I would have thought some of these floral images were for thrillers or mystery novels. If you look at title and image then you know what you´re getting ( almost ).

 

Would these covers stop me in a bookstore?

Yes! Even if I´m not much of a thriller reader I can still appreciate beautiful, eye-catchy covers. If it were up to me every romance would have this type of design because I find it appealing. I think I´m going to put cover feature #4 and #5 on my TBR list.

 


 

So you see… Florals are everywhere.

All in all I´m not mad about flowers on book covers. As long as I don´t have reals ones in the house then all´s good.

 


 

What is your opinion on floral book covers? Do you like or dislike them? Do you think they work for all genres? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat with you. ❤

 


 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed.

Many hugs,

 

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Is There An Easier Way To Review Books?

I´ll tell you what – I struggle sometimes with writing reviews. There are days when I can sit down and write a colorful 2K word review for a 300 page standalone. Then I go through phases of painful reviewer´s block. I can´t come up with the right words to express my thoughts or feelings regarding a book.

You´d think I´d have the hang of this review thingy by now. I mean- 10 years should have taught me a trick or two. Weeeeell, it seems like I´m still winging things as I go.

My biggest struggle is review size/length. For some reason, I have this notion that reviews have to be a certain size to be considered a true review. I know, total bullshit. But I can´t help it. It´s like this evil pattern embedded deep in the recesses of my brain. Am I bothered by this? To be honest- Sometimes I am. Writing reviews should be as easy as breathing in air. All you have to do is lay down your opinion and hit that publish button. * sigh *  If only that were true.
During my book blogger years I´ve asked myself the same questions over and over again:

  • Is there an easier way to review books?
  • Should my reviews be lengthy or short?
  • If short, how short? If long, how high should my word count be?

 

This isn´t a matter of being insecure. This is me battling my perfectionist side. Thankfully, I´ve learned that book review size doesn´t really matter.

 

Review length is a matter of personal preference. 

 

It´s a question of how much information a reviewer wants to include in their reviews. Personality, style, emotions, and knowledge. Add all or only add a few. Do whatever the hell you want, right? Right. But there was still one question left unanswered. One I consider a challenge.

Is there an easier way to review books?

Because let´s face it – No one is able to pull a review out of their ass thinking hat. It´s tedious sometimes. And us foot folk don´t get paid for our awesomeness. There has to be a way!

The other day I was making notes in my reading log for my next review when I noticed a little box on the lower left corner. A little feature I have been using all along but never gave much thought about.

smiley

 

A simple rating system. Rate the plot, the characters, and ease of reading. Then to sum everything up you give your overall opinion via smiley.  This doesn´t even take a minute out of our day ( if we allow ourselves to not overthink much and analyze everything ) to do and can also be easily used as book reviews. If you ask me, I think this is brilliant. I´ll tell you why:

  • Some people misunderstand reviews. I know- Unthinkable but true. Some reviews are very wordy and not everyone´s native speaking language is English. I can see why some would have questions.
  • They´re wordless. Sometimes words can hurt. Whether intentionally or unintentionally… there´s bound to be an author hanging on that one word a reviewer used to describe the book/their feelings.
  • Most of the world is familiar with a smiley rating scale– Everyone´s most likely been confronted with a 3 point or 5 point rating scale at a young age so there is a global understanding of what a sad face, a neutral face and a happy face means.
  • They´re quick. Some people take days to write a review. Imagine how much time could be saved by using this system. This would give reviews a whole new meaning and reviewers the chance not to dwell on sentence structure, repetitive words, etc. Plus, using smileys saves time. We live in a fast-moving environment where many of us don´t have enough hours in our day to get things done.
  • They´re spoiler – free. I know many people who don´t read reviews out of fear of bumping into a spoiler. You could avoid any minor or major spoiler by using the smiley rating system.

 

Sounds wonderful, doesn´t it?  For a book blogger, sure. Of course, there´s always a flip side to brilliant things. This system might work wonders but it´s entirely reviewer friendly. We save time. We hardly have work with a review. But what about the consumer? The people who depend or rely on reviews? Future book spoilers aren´t a problem with this system but what about the emotional aspect? That slight push that seals the book purchase deal? Smileys can´t give a reader authenticity. They symbolize emotions. They don´t glow with personality.

So, I guess the idea of using this quick book blogger friendly rating system as reviews is out of the question, huh? Still, wouldn´t it be nice? In an ideal world, we´d be able to use this system AND help the consumer. Sounds so good.

 

Since we don´t live in a perfect world I might as well change the question to:

Is there a more efficient way to write a review that still helps the consumer?

Hmm… Here´s to 10 more years of coming up with an answer!

OR (!!!) I might just test this all out and see how it´s received. Hmm….


 

Let´s chat: What are your thoughts on review size? Which do you prefer to read: long or short reviews? What´s your take on the smileys? I would love to read your thoughts!

 


 

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed.

 

XO´s

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Book Review: The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

 


 

My Thoughts 2

You know, sometimes a book hits you hard and sometimes a book doesn´t. In my case, the book did nothing for me.

I can´t begin to tell you how often `The Kiss Quotient` ( The Kiss Quotient #1 ) by author Helen Hoang was recommended to me. Close friends said the book is a must-read. Fellow bloggers urged me to give this chic – lit a chance. “The Kiss Quotient is different,” they said. “You can´t compare it to other chic -lits.”TKQ

Yeah, well… The only thing I realized was how little my friends know about my reading tastes. I also have a strange suspicion that my blog buddies accidentally recommended the wrong book.

`The Kiss Quotient` is not any different from other chic – lits. And I can compare this to other books from the genre. There are often differences in the romance genre but hardly any in the chic – lit department.

To make a long story short: I wasn´t impressed. Not by what was said about the supposedly unique romance between the main characters nor by the story itself. This doesn´t mean I didn´t like the story. This just means that didn´t meet my romance novel standards.

 

  • The writing is decent but also too dry for my taste.
  • The characters were strong and flawed, which I totally appreciate. I don´t know why, but the main characters reminded me a little of Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon Cooper´s brother, Georgie ( characters from The Big Bang Theory ).
  • The story was enjoyable but nothing special
  • Sex overload. I´m not one to turn away from sex scenes but a girl needs a few breather breaks
  • There´s definitely a romance but it´s an insta-love.

 

I need passion, action, lust, and tension when reading a romance novel. I need a slow TKQ2burn and a potential threat. I need a palette of emotions. Basically- I need an excuse to open a bottle of wine either during or after reading. Unfortunately, this book wasn´t able to move me on an emotional level nor was it powerful enough to get me moving towards the wine cabinet.

 

 


 

Would I recommend this book? I would. Despite my `meh` attitude, I can definitely see why others would fall head over heels for this quirky romance. It´s a decent read but not what I was looking for. I think I can also add that I won´t be continuing the series.

Would I reread this book? Probably not.

 


 

The Cover: 3 Stars  –  I have the paperback copy with the rose petals shaped in a heart form. Personally, I believe the cover image is outdated but the color theme is spot on.

The Story:  3 Stars  –  Not bad at all. Just too clichéd and dry.

The Characters:  3 Stars  – Again, not terrible but also not the greatest.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

3 stars


 

`The Kiss Quotient` by Helen Hoang can be purchased on Amazon.com

 

Book Cover Talk – `His Banana`by Penelope Bloom

Have you ever heard of author Penelope Bloom before? I haven´t. Maybe that can be blamed on me not spending enough time in the rom-com department. Which is a shame. I love humor and I love romance. Hmm…

A few days ago I received a Whatsapp text from my book babe, Sabrina @Brina And the Books with this cover.

His Banana

 

I admit I laughed. I laughed so much that I had trouble breathing. Not because the cover is terrible – The cover is actually decent. It´s simple and… in combination with the title, I´d say it´s brilliant! It´s the title that had me cracking up. HIS Banana. What an amusing title- Amusing enough for me to want to read the synopsis.

It looks like the story has an actual banana in it. The banana at hand is HIS. I have tears in my eyes while typing this.

 

Part of the synopsis

`My new boss likes rules, but there’s one nobody dares to break…
No touching his banana. 
Seriously. The guy is like a potassium addict. 
Of course, I touched it. 
If you want to get technical, I actually put it in my mouth. 
I chewed it up, too… I even swallowed.
I know. Bad, bad, girl.
Then I saw him, and believe it or not, choking on a guy’s banana does not make the best first impression. `

 

I´m the type of person who LOVES to see the humor in everything. I make inappropriate jokes at uncalled for times, etc. So, my opinion regarding this hilarious cover ( and synopsis ) comes from a positive place.

I think I sent a 1:30 minute Whatsapp message back, laughing my ass off.

Now, back to the book.

`His Banana `is the first installment from the Objects of Attraction series.

 

HIS HER banner
Objects Of Attraction Series by Penelope Bloom

 

 

Here´s the deal – These images aren´t anything we haven´t seen on book covers before. I could, right off the bat, give you a list of 20 books that have cherries on the cover. Same with cupcakes, gifts/packages, and lipsticks. These objects are a staple in the romance genre. But, I have to say, I haven´t been seeing any bananas or… bushes on book covers lately. Especially a single bush ( would someone already bring me a cocktail? ). Let alone with a stark white background.

The subtle – not so subtle font is also a good match. It draws attention. It´s prominent but it still doesn´t distract from the objects.

Now, what do these covers tell me, the person who´s looking for their next read?

 

  • There´s a high possibility humor is included.
  • Double entendres, sexual innuendos
  • romance

 

This is a good thing! The less a cover tells me the better.

Knowing all this is fine but we still haven´t gotten to what´s important:

Do the covers excite me enough to want to read this book / the series? Not really ( The banana and bush ones do, though ). But the covers, paired with their titles do. When seeing this from a marketing point of view, there really isn´t anything wrong with the designs. This is perfection. The book covers for `The Objects of Attraction` are designed to leave a lasting impression. Mission accomplished, I´d say. I´ll definitely call my other book babes and tell them about these books.

Would I, as a dedicated romance reader, buy these books based on the covers ( and title )?  Sure, why not?  They´re not what I would consider out – of – this – world – fabulous, but I´m amused and interested.


 

What are your thoughts on this cover / the covers for the series? Are they a YAY or NAY for you? Are you a fan of the author? Let´s chat. xx

 


Go ahead and stalk Penelope Bloom!

Website   º   Facebook   º   Goodreads   º   Amazon

 

Purchase Links for the `Objects of Attraction` series

`His Banana`  Book #1

`Her Cherry`  Book #2

`His Treat`   Book #3

`His Package `  Book #4

`Her Secret `  Book #5

`Her Bush `  Book #6