What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Rating: 5 out of 5.
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

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!

Continue reading “What You Wish For by Katherine Center”

A Goddess Among Men by Daniel Davidsohn

Welcome to the A Goddess Among Men blog tour
hosted by iRead Book Tours!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I love that this book covered three generations of characters. I think it really helped me to understand who Christel, the main character, was. I got an excellent understanding of why her emotional state was the way it was, and I appreciated all the details that went into building the timeline.

My Synopsis:

Alan and Julian are an odd-couple type of business relationship. Julian is a wonderful man with a lovely personality, while Alan is the exact opposite. He is a cruel, ruthless man that is focused on making it to the top of the success ladder.

Julian finds out he is a father shortly before his death, and he entrusts his daughter to Alan. WHY?!?!? I know as the reader we know more than the characters, but this decision broke my heart. So, Alan ends up the caregiver for Christel, and he is terrible. Christel endures unthinkable acts *see warnings below* and her treatment emotionally hollows her out.

Christel’s early childhood experiences shape who she becomes as a woman. She must work to embrace who she is with the help of someone from her past.

How I Felt:

The plot was so interesting. I really liked how the story covered such a wide range of years. There were twists and turns that I didn’t expect throughout the book, making the story such a page-turner! Christel’s history provides so much for the reader to learn about, and as the information was revealed, I just needed to know more!

The characters were so well-written. They had a depth that stemmed from their expansive histories, as well as the care the author took to develop them throughout the story. Alan is a despicable person. I was disgusted by him throughout the entire book. I found myself blaming Julian again and again for putting Christel in this horrible situation.

Continue reading “A Goddess Among Men by Daniel Davidsohn”

Not According to Plan by A.M. Madden

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I love this twist on a romance storyline! A one-night-stand turned into a pregnancy and love story was adorable, and I loved it! One other thing I just adored about this book was the cover! I just think it’s utterly fabulous and I was drawn to the book from that alone!

How I Felt:

The characters were so lovable in this story. Jade, our female lead, has no interest in love. She is focused on her career. When life throws her curve-balls though, we find how adaptable to change she can be. I liked her strength and determination in all things life gave her. Max is also not looking for love, and yet love seems to find him. He’s a wonderful love interest, and I loved his strength of character. He was willing to commit to the situation and I appreciated that so much. Together, Jade and Max make a fabulous pair and they were so fun to read about.

Continue reading “Not According to Plan by A.M. Madden”

The Evergreen Life Experiment by Aviva Gat – Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

It is rare to read a book with main characters that are elderly. They are usually supporting characters, or older in the beginning, but most of their story is told through a flashback. The Evergreen Life Experiment was not that at all. It is a book filled with main characters that are all living in a retirement facility. They are all 75 years or older, and it is wonderful to see a focus on this generation!

How I Felt:

This story was so much fun! A group of live-in residents for an elderly community are given the opportunity to take a pill that will stop and possibly reduce the signs of aging. There are quite a few people that jump at the chance immediately, while others are skeptical and choose not to take it. As the results start to show on some of the characters, others want to join in and agree to take it as well. The Evergreen Life Experiment focuses on each character’s individual history and experiences leading up to and after taking this new trial drug.

Continue reading “The Evergreen Life Experiment by Aviva Gat – Book Review”

A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the location for A Reason for Living. Set in Kingston, Jamaica in the 1960s, there were Civil Rights movements happening, and I really liked reading a story that was surrounded by this time in history. It was a new subject for me, and I appreciated learning about the events of the time and how people reacted to them.

Continue reading “A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles”

One Woman Falling by Melanie Campbell – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

One Woman Falling was such an emotionally impactful book, it almost hurt to read. I am so impressed with Melanie Campbells’s ability to write about the topic of domestic violence with such beautiful words. I was so drawn into this book and it deeply touched me.

How I Felt:

The characters felt so real in this story. Melanie Campbell created Cassie Peterson, a woman living a life filled with domestic abuse and made her come to life on the pages. Her story takes the reader through the emotional impact domestic abuse has on a person. Cassie comes to realize that she is worthy of love and that this relationship is not a loving one. Her faith helps to guide her to understand her own strength and empower her to make a change.

Continue reading “One Woman Falling by Melanie Campbell – Book Review”

A Top 2020 Read: Wildland by Rebecca Hodge – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I am unable to say the right words to express to you just how much I loved this book. The author’s ability to utterly hypnotize me with her words was wonderful. I was 100% invested in Wildland and could not put it down. What an excellent job Rebecca Hodge has done with this book!

Continue reading “A Top 2020 Read: Wildland by Rebecca Hodge – Book Review”

Influencers Beware: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth – Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Phew! Let’s talk about influencers for a second. They put themselves all over social media, inviting people into their homes and lives virtually and they have no idea who all of these people are. What are their intentions, will they begin stalking you, emailing you, trolling you?

Continue reading “Influencers Beware: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth – Book Review”

Mismatched in Mayhem by L.E. Rico – Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved: Walker, our main character, is amazing. I loved her personality and her attitude. She is definitely a shining star in this story.

“You don’t get to choose who you fall for. It just… happens. No matter how much you want to undo it. No matter how hard you try to fight it…. That kind of attraction runs so deep that there is no way out-except to let it run it’s course.”

Mismatched in Mayhem – L.E. Rico

How I Felt: I loved the characters in this book. I previous mentioned that I loved Walker’s character, but there are so many people to love in this story. Mason, Walker’s love interest, is so easy to fall for. Father Romance is adorable and I loved the interactions between Walker and him.

I was a little drawn out of the book with Mason’s family issues towards the end. I could have done without so much of that in the story. The remainder of the story line, was quite enjoyable. I liked that Mason has this secret and he’s trying to hard to keep it from Walker. It made just the right amount of drama without being stressful to read.

Overall: This is a fun, romantic read with good writing to make you laugh and sigh in delight.

To Read or Not To Read: Mismatched in Mayhem is the fourth book in the series Whiskey sisters. I had not previously read the earlier books in the series. While I understood everything that was happening in this book, I do think I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I had read the first books. I would suggest that you read the earlier books before starting this one so that you get the most enjoyment out of it.

Where To Find This Book:
Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, with its sweater-wearing cats and ultra-competitive trivia nights. Where love really does conquer all…if you’ll let it.

Walker O’Halloran is finally ready to shed her “wild child” persona. Bartending at her family’s pub, babysitting her adorable niece and nephews, and getting her degree during the day.

What she doesn’t do is date–or even think about dating. Ever. Until he walks into her bar, looking like a former Mr. Quarterback of the Football Team and Student Council President all rolled into one. No, thank you.

Mason Stevens has a secret—and it prevents him from knowing if someone is truly interested in him, or just what he can do for them. Until he meets Walker. She’s the first person in ages who doesn’t recognize him, and her grouchy attitude feels like the greatest challenge of his life. And he’s ready for it.

But the more time they spend together, the more he’s desperate to come clean—it’s just never the right time. Until the paparazzi do it for him…

  • Mismatched in Mayhem by L.E. Rico
  • Series: Whiskey Sisters, Book 4
  • Page Count: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
  • Pub Date: January 13, 2020
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Award-Winning author Lauren Rico also happens to be one of the top classical music broadcasters in the country. Her voice is heard nationally on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall channel, as well as on radio stations in New York City, Charlotte, and Tampa. She’s even been known to accompany travelers as they fly the skies over Thailand, Oman, and China as part of the in-flight entertainment on several airlines. Her love and passion for classical music have allowed her to breathe new life into the stories of the great composers.

And now Lauren is telling some stories of her own…

Beginning with her erotic thriller, Reverie (Harmony House Productions, 2016), she set out to “put the sexy back in Bach,” creating a riveting tale of passion, deception and redemption set against the backdrop of an international music competition. She rounded out the trilogy with Rhapsody (Harmony House Productions, 2016) and Requiem (Harmony House Productions, 2017).

From there, Lauren partnered with Entangled Publishing, LLC, to create the first in her Symphony Hall series of romance novels, Solo (Entangled Publishing 2017). Her most recent release, Mistletoe in Mayhem, is the third in the five-book Whiskey Sisters series (Entangled 2018). Upcoming projects include two more Whiskey Sisters romances, a follow-up to Solo and a super-secret, as-of-yet-unnamed thriller.

Lauren hopes to bring classical music to a new audience by showcasing it in twisty, steamy stories that grab the reader and keep them turning pages — and YouTubing the music — into the wee hours.

When she’s not on talking on the radio or typing on her laptop, Lauren enjoys time with her husband and spectacularly spoiled mini-schnauzer.

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green – A Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved: The charming conversations in this cozy story made this book so lovable. I loved the way Ellie thinks with funny things like “Oh nightmare!”

How I Felt: I loved the characters in this book. Sylvia is probably my favorite character actually and I would love to see more of her in another book (and maybe I will get to since this is a series). Ellie is a bit of a hot mess with all the things going wrong in her life and I appreciated her character flaws that came with these issues. The romance was perfect and I enjoyed that story line. I felt that the two characters had chemistry and found myself rooting for them from the beginning.

Overall: This is a quick read with a very light-hearted feel. The story was endearing and the writing was well-done.

To Read or Not To Read: If you are looking for a quick read to lighten your mood, this is it!

Fleeing from a romance gone wrong, Ellie Farmer arrives in the pretty village of Sunnybrook, hoping for a brand new start that most definitely does not include love!

Following an unscheduled soak in the village duck pond, she meets Sylvia, who runs the Little Duck Pond Cafe. Renting the flat above the cafe seems like the answer to Ellie’s prayers. It’s only for six months, which will give her time to sort out her life, far away from cheating boyfriend Richard.

But is running away from your past ever really the answer?

Clashing with the mysterious and brooding Zak Chamberlain, an author with a bad case of writer’s block, is definitely not what Ellie needs right now. And then there’s Sylvia, who’s clinging so hard to her past, she’s in danger of losing the quaint but run-down cafe altogether.

Can Ellie find the answers she desperately needs in Sunnybrook? And will she be able to help save Sylvia’s Little Duck Pond Cafe from closure?

  • Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green
  • Series: The Little Duck Pond Cafe book 1
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Print Length: 127 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 22, 2018
The following is an excerpt from Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green.

A sudden noise makes me turn my head towards the cottage and I almost lose my balance, grasping just in time at a branch above my head.

Oh, nightmare!

A tall man is striding out of the house towards me, looking understandably peeved. He crosses the grass and stands right below me.

‘What’s going on?’ The deep, rumbling voice matches his big, lean frame as he stands there, hands on hips, glaring up at me. I can barely see his eyes beneath the tumble of dark hair but I’m pretty sure they’re flashing with anger.

I swallow hard and open my mouth to start apologizing but my throat feels so dry, nothing comes out. So I’m left staring back at him like a stunned haddock.

‘Well?’ His bark tones down a notch. I think he’s realized from my gormless expression that I pose no big security threat to his tree or his person.

‘Sorry.’ I manage to choke out a single word. But looking down, I feel quite faint. Descending is going to be a challenge. Fright has welded my bottom to the branch.

‘Are you doing this for a dare?’ he asks, glancing towards the hedge as if he expects to see a friend with a sheepish grin pop up at any moment with their thumb in the air. ‘We’ve had one or two break-ins lately, so you can understand how I might feel slightly suspicious about a strange woman lurking in my tree.’

Oh, God, does he think I’m a burglar

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green is available now. Readers will also be able to read the whole series on Kindle Unlimited as it is released.

Amazon Kindle | Goodreads

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Spring at the Little Duck Pond Café is the first in Rosie’s brand new series of novellas centred around life in a village café. Each novella is a ‘stand-alone’ read.

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

The Birth Mother by Seymour Ubell – Interview and Review

What I Loved:

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.

Content Warning:

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.

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon | Goodreads | Indiebound

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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.

Title:  The Birth Mother by Seymour Ubell
Page Count: 338 pages
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Archway
Pub date:  Sep 17, 2019

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.

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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.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the ending. The last few chapters did me in. I literally had tears streaming down my face. I have NEVER read a book that wrapped up the way Colleen Hoover did in Regretting You. I am still in awe and I absolutely loved it. I’m not going to say anything more about this because there will not be spoilers from me, but it is worth the read.

How I Felt:

This is my FIRST Colleen Hoover book, and I am already figuring out how to fit more of her books into my reading list! The way she wove this story was fascinating. The book is told from two perspectives, 16-year-old Clara, and her mother, Morgan. I loved how raw the emotions were during their struggles in this book. Above all else, for me, this book was about healing, forgiving, and relationships of family and love.

There are two stories of romance for the reader. Clara’s is a first love sort of story with all the goodies and struggles that go along with that. Then, Morgan’s story is filled with healing after the death of her husband and finding a new path forward.

The writing in Regretting You is phenomenal. The first-person narrative is captivating, as each woman tells their story. The supporting characters all played a role in the story, and I loved the role each played.

To Read or Not To Read:

If you love Colleen Hoover, I’m sure this is already on your TBR (to-be-read) list. So, this section is more for those that haven’t discovered her yet. Regretting You is a real-feel life story filled with struggles that really happen and may touch you on a personal note. You are pulled in by each character’s heartbreak and happiness. If you enjoy a book that tugs at the heart strings, but can also give you those warm fuzzies, you need to read this book.

Have you read any other books by Colleen Hoover yet? Check out my review of Verity by Colleen Hoover!

Where To Find This Book:

Amazon Amazon Kindle Goodreads

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Morgan and Clara seem to have a pretty normal teenage daughter and mother relationship. There’s absolutely love there, but there’s also tension. Morgan was young and unexpectedly pregnant with Clara and wants to make sure Clara doesn’t follow the same path her mother did. Clara wants to go to an arts school to become an actress and has no intention of leading the same life as her mother.

Their fairly ordinary life is turned upside down when Chris, Morgan’s husband and Clara’s father is killed in a car accident. Devastated by the loss, Morgan quickly finds that there are more questions than answers surrounding the accident. Struggling to shield Clara from these unexpected and unwanted secrets, Morgan finds herself at constant odds with Clara. Can these two find a way to heal their relationship and their hearts?

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

  • Page Count: 363 pages
  • Genre: Romance / YA / Contemporary
  • Publisher: Montlake
  • Pub Date: December 10, 2019

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I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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