You know how everyone talks about an author, and you’re like hmmm…I haven’t read this author, there must be a reason everyone loves them? Well….That was Katherine Center for me. I haven’t read any of her books, but she’s ALL over the book world! So, I was really excited that I managed to snag her audio and physical book, What You Wish For! And what I wished for came true, this author ROCKS!
What You Wish For is categorized as romance, and I would agree, there is definitely a romance element, but it felt like SO much more than that. There is hope, grief, inspiration, and friendship all mixed into this beautiful story!
This is the third book I have read written by Aviva Gat. I have enjoyed each one, and I think her writing just continues to impress me! I loved the premise of this story. It was intriguing and different and put me in a place to ask myself what I would do in this situation. It was outstanding!
How I Felt:
The plot starts off with a bang…almost… Mara is ready for revenge as she attends a charity event with her gun hidden as she waits for the right moment to take her shot. She is interrupted and side-tracked by the handsome man that whisks her away. After a few dates, Mara finds out that he is the son of the man that murdered her parents and sister in a drunk driving car accident.
This was such a good story. I felt completely swept into the book by Aviva Gat’s writing. The characters were so intriguing and held so much emotion. The writing did an excellent job conveying their thoughts and feelings.
I absolutely adored the main character, Samiah! She is a super-smart, successful woman with this fabulous geeky side that I really enjoyed!
Samiah’s boyfriend has just been exposed as a cheater and a snake. It was unfortunately done through Twitter, creating a social media storm that caused her breakup to be in the spotlight. Now, she has made a pact with the other two women Samiah’s boyfriend was also sneaking around with. They will take six months for themselves. No men and no dates.
As Samiah works to secretly develop her very own app, she thinks this pact is the perfect opportunity for her to focus on her project. She just doesn’t expect coincidental coffee run-ins with Daniel Collins to sidetrack her. But Daniel has secrets of his own…
How I Felt:
This is my first book by Farrah Rochon, and I really enjoyed it! The story was an easy read with some steamy moments and a great plot. The opening scene of this book is all you need to be hooked. It’s an amazing mix of embarrassing moments, romance gone wrong, and women uniting against a jerk.
I loved this story’s idea of how souls interact and communicate. I thought it was such an interesting plot, and I couldn’t put it down!
Caroline Martin has always wanted a daughter. Unknowingly pregnant, she goes in for a hysterectomy. She shares a recovery room with a pregnant woman, Mary Anne, shot by her boyfriend.
The soul of Caroline’s accidentally aborted baby decides that Mary Anne’s baby may be an opportunity for her to be born and know her mother.
How I Felt:
Rachael’s Returnis such a different book. This story features both the human characters and the characters of souls within the storyline. The souls play a huge role in the story and provided a fresh perspective. The story discusses a lot about spirituality, reincarnation, and destiny. It was written well, and when I wasn’t reading it, I found myself constantly thinking about the plot and the role fate plays in our lives.
Chasing Pebbles has this wonderful message of being who YOU are, not what others expect you to be. I thought it was just an absolutely lovely thing to weave into this beautiful story.
Frida left home a year ago, and she never intended to look back. After losing her living arrangements, she is forced to head back home. Filled with anger, she arrives like a storm and intends to stay that way until the moment she can leave again.
In steps Oliver. Oliver and Frida had been best friends once long ago, but after rumors and deceptive actions ruined their connection, Frida never expected to see him again. Oliver has other plans though. He fully intends to make things right with her. He’s got the summer to do it, and he doesn’t plan to fail.
How I Felt:
I loved that this story was told from both Frida and Oliver’s (Ollie) POVs. They are both wonderfully lovable characters, and I found myself rooting for them from the start. Ollie and Frida are both goofy in their own ways, and it made them relatable and real for me. Felicia Blaedel did an excellent job creating and building their characters!
This book was crazy! I really enjoyed the twists that were carefully woven into the story to provide lots of heart-racing moments! I especially enjoyed that we get to read the POV of the antagonist as well as the protagonist. It created an interesting perspective for me as I was reading, and I loved it!
Freya Miller is trying to get her life in order after the death of her husband. Without a job, she’s quickly running out of money. She has sold her home and is prepared to temporarily move into a friend’s place when the opportunity of a lifetime falls into her lap.
Dr. Marsden is looking for a new tenant and a coffee shop accidental meeting leads him to believe Freya is just what he is looking for. Freya quickly agrees to this upscale, beautiful apartment for such a ridiculously low rent, she can’t believe her luck.
Freya is soon moved in but doesn’t even get a chance to be happy. Everything seems a little off. Dr. Marsden and Mrs. Marsden seem extremely controlling. They want to install a video camera in her apartment entrance, and they don’t like visitors. The list goes on and on.
The apartment building, Adder House, seems to have a dark history that people won’t tell Freya about. She begins hearing sounds and voices, and things are moved around in their apartment. Freya is starting to think this was too good to be true.
How I Felt:
The plot for The Apartmentwas so good! I felt like all the pieces fit together perfectly to provide an exciting thriller for the reader. I did guess what was going on but didn’t have all the details figured out. I don’t mind guessing at a thriller, I like to see if I’m right. So, it doesn’t bother me as long as it’s still a good story.
The Wives had an awesome premise that had me so excited to pick this book up. I loved all the secrets that surrounded the intricacies of this relationship!
Thursday is married to Seth. Seth is married to Thursday…and two other women, sort of.
Thursday went into her marriage fully aware that Seth had two other wives, but she was okay with the arrangement because she loved him so much. She’s happy with their arrangement. She gets to see him once a week, and that makes her content.
Until she accidentally finds the identity of one of his other wives and a receipt for a prenatal doctor’s visit. One thing leads to another and Thursday finds herself on the doorstep of this wife to see what she’s like.
Thursday’s life begins to spiral out of control from there as she suspects Seth of abusing this other wife. Except that her Seth is nothing like that…is he?
How I Felt:
This story did not go where I thought it was going to go and it threw me for a loop! I was really hooked on the whole plot until about halfway through. Then everything kind of got turned upside down, and I felt like I was reading a different book. The story completely changed and it felt less like a thriller and more like an odd domestic fiction.
I really appreciate the author tackling such a tough subject matter. I am sure it is hard to write about the topics surrounding this story, but I feel it is also important for work like this to be available to people, especially a younger audience.
How I Felt:
This story was an emotional read. Written by debut author Cynthia Salaysay, it is touted as a #metoo story and it is, but it takes a while to get there. The book was slow to start and really draws out the manipulation by Paul, the music teacher. The author did a good job of showing how cunning Paul is as he passes small compliments to Claire in a very calculated manner.
❤️ A group of men finding relevant love advice through trashy romance novels.
What Didn’t Work:
👎 Most of the characters were completely unlikable.
How I Felt:
The story introduces the reader to Gavin, a major league baseball player, and a man with a marriage falling apart. After a fabulous win, he and his wife get down and dirty and Gavin discovers that she’s been faking it their entire marriage. This leads to an awful argument and a separation. Some of the other players on his MLB team approach him and introduce him to their Bromance Book Club. The club is a group of men reading Regency romance novels and taking away the love advice.
Gavin is skeptical but does try it out. His first step is to offer his wife, Thea, a deal. They agree for him to move back in until Christmas, and if Gavin can’t win her back, he’ll give her a divorce. Gavin has some guidelines though, she must kiss him goodnight every night and go on a date with him each week. Will Gavin’s plan to win Thea back work or is the advice from the romance novels a waste of time?
I enjoyed the idea of this plot. I liked that Gavin was expanding his idea of how to love his wife. He’s trying new things, and working at the relationship. I struggled though, with Thea’s end of the bargain. I felt like she was putting nothing into the relationship. I know that it was Gavin’s job to win her back, however, she was the one faking it through their entire marriage. Her frustration and ultimate reason for a divorce comes down to her not trusting people, and yet, she was the one keeping secrets from Gavin for so long.
Swimming Sideways was such an emotional story. I was so impressed with how C.L. Walters was able to draw out such feeling and connection to the characters! The story was deeply moving and I can’t wait to read the second book!
On The Details:
The story focuses on Abby, and her torn love between two boys, Gabe and Seth. Who Abby is as a person is a big focus. She goes through a self-discovery journey to decide who she is, and who she wants to me. I did find some portions of the story to be a bit slow. The beginning of the book didn’t quite capture my attention, and it took some time to really settle into the story. Once, I did though, I was hooked!
The intertwining story of the twin’s lives with their birth mother’s story was beautiful. I loved the way the tale was woven together, jumping from one piece of the story to the next. It kept me so interested!
How I Felt:
The Birth Mother is a beautifully written story with excellent research and information about the locations making the book come alive for the reader! I was so invested in the stories! The birth mother’s story had me gripped from the moment I found out her parents were selling her to save their son. I appreciated the statements the book is making on the roles of a female within each country’s culture (and religion). It is not overstated, but you see it within the Chinese portion of the story with the treatment of the birth mother and the orphanage’s lack of boy babies. In America, it is so obvious just from the relationship of the adoptive parents. The religious beliefs are fleshed out thoroughly as you complete the book, giving explanation to why God is a She. I found this to be a great overarching theme through the book and I appreciated the Ah-Ha moment as things were explained towards the end.
The writing style in this book felt so unique. Daryl is having a biography completed for his family so at times, the biographer is telling the story, but then Daryl just can’t contain his excitement and he takes over for portions of their family history. I found it endearing, and their relationship was another trait from this book that had me captivated.
A rape scene that is not graphic but could be a trigger for some people. Discussion of birth and babies.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to any reader that enjoys a book surrounding family. The book is well-written, and the story moved quickly. I highly recommend The Birth Mother to anyone that loves a dramatic story with endearing characters.
On a business trip, a high-powered fifty-six-year-old American entrepreneur visits his partners in China. After their meeting, his Asian mentor invites him to an orphanage, a trip that will change the course of his family’s life forever. Without hesitation, he and his wife fall in love with Anglo/Asian twin girls and become their adoptive parents.
The children grow up in a world of twists and turns with multiple coincidences and synchronicity. Their journey takes them from China to Europe to America and back to China where their unusual birth mother enters their lives. This powerful story is filled with drama at every turn as the daughters face internal and external challenges. The Birth Mother is a story filled with love, pathos, tragedy, and triumph. Read, laugh, cry, and learn. It’s a tale you will never forget.
Seymour Ubell is not a professional author. In fact he never went to college. His father died when Seymour was seventeen years old and suddenly had to get a job and help support the family. Seymour was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has lived in Manhattan for the last 40 + years. He is the chairman of an American packaging company with offices in New York, China and Europe.
At eighty-eight, the author’s daily routine includes working out every other day at 7:AM in a local NYC gym, breakfasts with friends and arrives at his office each day around 10am. By 3pm he heads home to his wife and continues his research and writing. His weekends are spent enjoying the cultural arts of Manhattan, including the theater the Philharmonic, movies and his family. He is currently writing two more novels. The first, almost complete historical novel about his family business which goes back to early 1880 with his great grandfather in the original family shop in Poland. And continues into 2019 in the USA and the rest of the world. His other novel is entitled, Second Love. About people who divorce, lose their partners from a health problem, an accident or even suicide…and find a second act in love and togetherness.
Seymour Ubell has spent most of his career in the print and advertising business. His clients are, and have been, the largest apparel, footwear, pharmaceutical, retail and consumer products companies in the world. He is a published author (A Life of Risks Taken, 2014 and The Birth Mother, 2019), lecturer, and raises funds for Parkinson’s research when he’s not at the theater with his wife, Marsha.
I had a chance to interview Seymour Ubell on his writing and inspirations!
SJLB Question: How did you do research for your book? SU Answer: Google, thesaurus and dictionary…some interviews.
SJLB Question: Which was the hardest character to write? SU Answer: Shan Di’s biological father. It was difficult for me to imagine the feelings of a father selling his daughter. The easiest? The feeling of the adoptive father was the easiest.
SJLB Question: In your book you make a reference to “God Is A woman”….how did you come up with this idea? SU Answer: When writing the book, my life with my wife, my mother and my daughters fed me with enormous kindness. I began to learn that all beautiful things on this earth have a feminine title. In my marriage to my second wife, Marsha made my life, our home and all that surrounded us into a heaven. Therefore to my sixth sense, God must be a woman. My niece Lori Ubell allowed to include a wonderful brief story that she wrote many years ago, which I never forgot.
SJLB Question: What made you write a book about adoption SU Answer: It came from an original experience of almost adopting Anglo Asian twins.
SJLB Question: Where do you get inspiration for your stories? SU Answer: My inspiration comes from actual experiences. I am now working on two books. One is entitled, The Family Business. It goes back 125 years to my great grandfather’s original tailor shop in Poland. My other book entitled “Second Love or Act ll, I am not sure of the title. The story is about at least ten couples who lose partners by divorce, death or sex complications and find a second love.
SJLB Question: There are many books out there about adoption….What makes yours different? SU Answer: I Have not read any other BOOKS ON adoption.
SJLB Question: What advice would you give budding writers? SU Answer: A good writer is always writing…even as he or she thinks. All thoughts should be written down…otherwise you will forget the ideas that come to you on a daily and even hourly basis.
SJLB Question: Your book is set in China, the USA, and Europe. Have you ever been to these locations? SU Answer: I have spent 25 years of my life going to China on a monthly basis. And Europe as well.
SJLB Question: If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be? SU Answer: I am all the characters.
SJLB Question: Do you have another profession besides writing? SU Answer: Business man in here in the USA, with offices in China and Europe.
SJLB Question: How long have you been writing? SU Answer: Seven years, however I’ve been telling stories my entire life.
SJLB Question: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it? SU Answer: I do get writers block. I just stop writing until the flush of ideas comes back. Reading helps and the theater definitely helps
SJLB Question: What genres do you write and why? SU Answer: I fictionalize actual experiences. Except for my memoir. All 100% truth.
SJLB Question: What is the last great book you’ve read? SU Answer: Portnoy’s Complaint, The Mueller Report, The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger. The Brothers Karamazov, Red Notice, The Good Earth.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.