Book Review: When Ashes Fall – Marni Mann

synopsis single

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 Review:`Those Chance Encounters` by Pearl Khatri

 

synopsis single

 

𝑲𝒆𝒏𝒏𝒆𝒕𝒉:
She shattered my soul with the very first smile she gave me. I wanted her, craved her, yearned for her…
She wanted nothing to do with me, but I was an adamant bastard through and freaking through…

𝑨𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒂:
He pulled at my being with the very first wink he gave me. I desired him, ached for him, broke entirely for him.
He didn’t live up to his promise, keeping me waiting…praying…hoping…dreaming…


 

Warning From The Author ( taken from Goodreads )

𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚-𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒆𝒓, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒖𝒍𝒍𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈. 𝑰𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒓 𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆, 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒅𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒆𝒅.

 


 

On  a kind note:

This is my opinion. My opinions are not facts. This review is also a pro-consumer. This means I´m offering my opinion via review to guide and possibly help indecisive readers.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

Me stumbling upon `Those Chance Encounters by author Pearl Khatri was a chance encounter. It was one of those accidental bump-ins I believe others would appreciate more.

 

It´s romantic. It´s cute. It has humor. It´s revealing. It´s supposed to be great on a level I´m not acquainted with yet.

 

Much to my dismay, `Those Chance Encounters` didn´t meet my reading standards. Not by a long shot. I´m actually disappointed.

Before I dive into a more detailed explanation of my thoughts I´d like to point out what drove me to read this book in the first place. Those

The Cover & The Synopsis

There´s no denying how cute the cover image is.  And although a little slim, I found the synopsis interesting. I figured I´d be getting loads of story with the little description provided.

So, what´s keeping me from adoring this book? Let me put it this way…

 

The whole problem with this story wasn´t the story itself. `Those Chance Encounters` had the ability to be a great story. But it was the lack of structure in all areas that prevented this from being a great read.

This is probably the most chaotic story I´ve ever read. The author included topics such as body image issues, bullying and lack of self-awareness and all I was able to see was how respectful and at the same time dismissive these topics were handled. How am I, as a reader, supposed to feel empathy when I´m hardly given the chance to develop feelings?

There were moments when I had the feeling the author made the story up. But then again, this story felt like a strong case of „The protagonist is the author´s self- insert“ and that the whole book was based on personal experiences. There´s nothing against using one or the other. But for a reader to feel both is a little confusing and doesn´t work in the book´s or author´s favor.

Which leads me to my next point:

 The writing. I discovered I´m not a fan of the author´s writing.

Wordy. Excessive. Uncontrolled. My reading flow was constantly interrupted by the overuse of words I haven´t seen or heard of in two decades, which, I might add, is exhausting. Usually, this can be a breath of fresh air while reading but in this case, I was confused and irritated.

As for the characters- I tried. When the characters are 2-D you´ll find it hard to have a connection with them. I need to be convinced by actions instead of words in order to develop a bond with fictional people. I would like to relate. I´d rather not sit here and ask myself how this character made my top 3 list of most unliked characters. I didn´t feel anything for Amara or Kenneth. I wasn´t able to warm up to them due to the indecisive character portrayal.  Let´s not forget the kinks and quirks- Yeah, no. I´d rather forget them as they added nothing valuable to each character or the story.

With that being said- I think I won´t check out another book from this author.

While I´m pretty sure this book will find fans, it wasn´t strong enough to win me over.


 

Would I recommend this book? To the people who value my opinion- No.

Would I reread this book? No.


 

The Cover – 5 Stars:   Hands down- It´s a beauty.

The Story – 2 Stars:   Trite and, at times, confusing

The Characters – 1 Star:  It´s a no from me.

My emotional state after finishing this read – I´m not happy.

1 star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Before We Were Strangers – Renée Carlino

synopsis single

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M


 

My Thoughts 2

 

From friends to lovebirds. From lovebirds to strangers. Then from strangers to “Wow, that went quick.”  And this is not me spoiling anything from the story.

I have to let out a loud sigh and throw my hands in defeat because I´m at a loss for the right words.

If I ask myself the same question three times in a row I can give three different answers.

Did I like this book?  T´was okay.

Did I like this book?  Meeh.

Did I like this book?  Maybe if I sleep another night over it.

 

My emotions are a tad scattered when thinking about `Before we were strangers` by Renée Carlino.before we were strangers

From reading the synopsis I could tell the story was exactly what I was looking for. A slow burn romance that starts off in college and ends with the characters in their mid 30´s. I was right. Wasn´t disappointed in that department.

I wasn´t prepared for the ( what felt like ) eternal slow burn, though.

Good grief, at times I thought I´d never see the end of the 303 pages.

But then things happened so fast. Before I knew it the story found it´s end.

You get a glimpse of an unhappy Hero in the present. His love life had not gone the way he had planned it. Then he sees her- The woman who stole his heart in college.

Then the flashbacks begin….

Before I go any further I´d like to say that this wasn´t a terrible read. I liked parts of it but some other parts…. I developed a love / hate relationship with everything. For example:

  • The characters. I loved their chemistry but I so disliked their journey.

 

  • The general vibe. I liked that this story wasn´t an in – your – face romance. I felt the there was a gray fog looming over the characters. This was a unique experience for me because I was able to feel the sadness. But then again this fog wasn´t lifted at the right time, making this feel like more of a depressed read even when it shouldn´t have been that way.

 

  • The threat. There always has to be something that jeopardizes a relationship. An evil villain on a mission. I liked the villain in this romance. The ex-wife from the Hero was truly a piece of work. Sadly, she wasn´t there enough for me to appreciate her cruelty.

 

  • The slow burn. This is something I usually appreciate because I like to see things develop. A fictional relationship feels more authentic when things move along at a slower pace. These characters took the term `slow burn` to a whole new level.  There were some moments when I felt like the kid who asks their parents when they´ll reach their destination, repeating “Are we there yet?” every 5 minutes.

 

  • The characters ages. Again, I love to see things develop. Being able to watch characters grow is something I enjoy. Only I didn´t get to watch anyone grow. It was college then mid 30´s. Achievements accomplished during their 20`s  were mentioned and that was it.
  • The end. I love me some good endings. Good. Not rushed. Nice, smooth gradual endings. Not so much the type of ending this book had.

 

If I had to sum this review up with a few lines I´d say: Decent romance with a hard focus on the extreme slow paced relationship development.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I can see many readers falling in love with this read. It is romantic. It´s filled with love and hope.

Would I reread this book? I don´t believe I will.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:    It definitely fits the story and the image is actually linked to the story, which I approve of. It´s not my prefered style, though.

The Story – 3 Stars:    Decent. I would have liked a little more spark.

The Characters – 3 Stars:    The mid 30´s versions felt like the college versions of the characters.

My emotional state after finishing this read:   I have mixed feelings.

3 stars


 

You can purchase `Before We Were Strangers` by Renée Carlino on Amazon.com


 

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed.

Much love,

Banner name

 

 

 

Book Review: Unseen Messages – Pepper Winters

synopsis single

“There is a message for everything. From handwritten to verbal, seen and unseen. Messages exist all around us.” 

But what if you don’t see?
What if you don’t understand?
What if, by ignoring the message, your life is never the same again?

Estelle Evermore morphed from nobody to somebody overnight.
Galloway Oak put his past behind him and endeavoured to make his fortune using his trade.

Two strangers.
One plane.
Multiple unseen messages.
From sky to island, they find neither fame nor skills can save them. Stripped from society and left alone to survive the elements, the very task of staying alive outweighs all other needs.
Until survival turns to desire.
And desire turns to danger.

 

 

My Thoughts 2

 

Sometimes short reads need to be longer.  Sometimes long reads need to be shorter.  With `Unseen Messages` by author Pepper Winters, I believe the latter is more fitting. unseen messages

 

Pepper Winters is a talented writer but there is one thing that gets on my last nerve when it comes to her books. The way the author emphasizes certain parts in her stories. This will look something like this:

 

” A minute  t..i..c..k..e..d  past.”

 

What´s also very popular with the author is not always giving complete sentences, which often ends up seeming lazy.

“I cried.

I sobbed. 

I begged.

Anyone… please…

Help us. “

While this isn´t world shattering, it does irritate me. So much so that I feel the need to mention this is my review for `Unseen Messages`, one of the author´s ( in my opinion ) less finest published works.

I´ve read quite a few Pepper Winters books and all of them were quite special in their own special way. But `Unseen Messages` really tops off all the special in the world.

The main killer for me was the overload on details. This almost 600 page book could have easily been a 300 page read if half the unnecessary additional info had been taken out. Imagine how excited I was to finally get to read a nearly 600 page book and have that excitement turn into sheer boredom after finding out what made the book so long.

Too.

Many.

Details.

And.

This.

Crap.

Killed.

My.

Interest.

&.

Reading.

Flow.

( isn´t that annoying?)
And I haven´t even started on the story.

What made this book a terrible sort of special was the fact that the story felt like nonsense to me.

Because when your flight crashes and you end up on a deserted island with a guy and 2 random kids  you feel all kinds of sexual helplessness, right? Yes, because that is always on the top 5 survival trick list- 1) Find food. 2) Find a bed. 3) take in your dire situation. 4) Have some inner thoughts. 5) scratch that itch.

( note to self: Watch Bear Grylls and see if he´s sexually sparked on his survival shows )

I kept in mind what other fellow bloggers said: This is not your typical Pepper Winters book. Yeah, they weren´t lying. It was worse for me.

I also never thought inner dialogues could annoy me as much as a dragging story could. Good Lord, I began to notice my own annoyed deep breaths everytime an inner dialogue came up.

Normally, I would have DNF´d this book in a heartbeat if it weren´t for the fact that I thought I was going to end up getting a mind blowing ending. I mean- almost 600 pages and a burning wrist from holding the brick of a paperback tricked me into believing I´d get my “holy shit” ending. I did not.

 


 

Would I recommend this read? No. I sincerely wouldn´t. Just watch Tom Hanks in Castaway. I swear Wilson had more spark.

Would I reread this book? I already passed it down. No point in keeping a book that enraged me more than it pleased me.


 

The Cover – 4 Stars:    Not bad. I like the colors.

The Story – 1 Star:      I refuse.

The Charcaters – 1 Star:    I´m still refusing.

My emotional state after finishing this read – I´m done.

 

1 star

 


 

You can purchase `Unseen Messages` on Amazon.com 

unseen messages

Book Review: The Butterfly Project – Emma Scott

synopsis single

“Where you are is home…”

At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change…

Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime. 

Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness. 

The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.


My Thoughts 2

I feel like I deserve to be kicked. I had `The Butterfly Project` on my TBR pile for over a full year and didn´t feel moved to read it. Why? Well, I have one excuse that makes me feel a little better.

I bought this at the RARE Berlin ´17 book signing, straight from the source, at Emma Scott´s table. I walked right up to her and told her I needed something to read that doesn´t involve college students.

“Please have something that involves adults. I need a romance. I need something with substance. I need to be able to relate.”

I must have looked like a mad woman because the confusion on her face spoke volumes. But she was quick. While I was still talking she picked `The Butterfly Project`for me and I bought it. I was a desperate mess and in the need of something that didn´t have over the top characters.The Butterfly Project

After that I drove home and totally forgot about the book again ( despite my desperation ).

Over a year later….

I finally pushed myself to read `The Butterfly Project`. Now I feel all sorts of awful because this is exactly what I wanted. Emma Scott´s writing and storytelling skill is right up my alley. The author has an uncanny ability to draw a reader in with her words.

So easy. So subtle. So worth every minute of my time. 

I won´t bother giving you my own book description ( because they´re too” special” ). The synopsis does a far better job than I ever could. Instead, I´ll just gush out my feelings for this story.

At first, I didn´t know what exactly to expect. But then with each turned page I fell more and more in love. The story is one of those makes – you – feel – good types of reads, even though nothing is perfect. The characters are flawed, even until the end. The issues the couple struggle with aren´t magically gone after the first kiss.

Let´s introduce the MCs:

Zelda ( Heroine ) was a treat. Despite her miserable past she was still strong willed and caring. What a wonderful soul. I was touched and I loved.

Beckett, the Hero…. Good laawd, that man * takes dramatic sip of coke * He´s a proper book boyfriend ( if there is such a thing ). A picture book perfect Hero with just the right balance.

Both even functioned amazingly well as a couple! I cannot ask for more.

`The Butterfly Project`is a standalone, dual POV, slow burn and kind romance that´ll definitely leave an impression.


Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. For romance lovers who enjoy a good heart warmer…. definitely.

Would I reread this book? * nod *


 

The Cover – 3 Stars: The cover image doesn´t do much for me.

The Story – 5 Stars: I have no major complaints.

The Characters – 5 Stars: A treat, I tell you. A TREAT!

My emotional state after finishing this read: 100% satisfied.

5 stars

Buy the book!   Amazon.com    ◊    Amazon.co.uk


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