Review: The Imaginary Life

The Imaginary Life

Author: Mara Torres
Series: Standalone
Genre: Women’s Fiction,
Publisher: Grupo  Planeta
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 172
Source: TLC Book Tours
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Rating: ★★★.5

Summary from Goodreads:

Meet Fortunata Fortuna, at a crossroads but ready to make her mark on the world

What goes through your head when the person you love leaves you? What do you do with your life when you have to start it all over again? Do you make it up? Nata’s world fills with unanswered questions when Beto leaves her. But time doesn’t stop, and the stories that Nata begins to tell herself about her own life lead her to a place where everything becomes possible again.

Original and contemporary, this debut novel, a finalist for the Planeta Prize, has the nerve center of a confessional and introduces readers to Fortunata Fortuna, a character the world won’t soon forget.



Opening Lines

“Life sucks. I don’t mean always; I mean now. I don’t mean that life has sucked since the moment I was born. I mean these past few days, weeks, months. Days when I open the window in the morning and couldn’t care less if the plum tree opposite me is in bloom or has withered away. These colourless months, not even black and white but drab. Like the pages on a calendar: the mornings at work, the evenings when I collapse onto this sofa and stare at the wall until everything goes blurry and I have to blink because my vision has clouded over.”

Ever wonder what could happen in a post-breakup situation? Well I jumped into The Imaginary Life to find out! I was instantly attracted to the cover. The use of pink against the off-white background gave this book a nice pop that made it stand out more. Nata is indeed an interesting character, she knows she needs to accept what has happened and move on, yet she seems to keep doing things to throw herself 10 steps back. The Imaginary Life is split up into 3 parts, and within each part each chapter has a named with sayings. This added a very unique and cute spin on the story, I often found myself reading a chapter and trying to connect it to the title of that chapter.

At times I struggled trying to identify who the narrator was, I wasn’t sure if we were being introduced to another character or not. This lead to some confusion on my part and had me flipping back pages and re-reading. I also struggled to grasp the magical part of this story. What I loved about Mara Torres’ writing style is that it allowed me to really put my imagination to work. And I don’t mean I had to work hard to picture everything, just that there was great use of words that had me wanting to picture every detail and every moment.

Overall, The Imaginary Life was more enjoyable then I thought it would be! I think this is a great read for everyone with valuable life lessons. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, although I understand what it symbolizes, I would have like to see more of depth as to what and where Nata’s life will go from here. I wonder if a second book is in the making, probably not but one can hope!

 

About the Author

Mara Torres is a reporter and author. She earned a degree in journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). Torres began her professional career in radio in the 1990s; a decade later, Hablar por hablar became a leading show on evening radio. In 2006 Torres moved to Spanish Television Information Services, where she is a host of news and entertainment shows. Among other awards, Torres has won the Golden Antenna and the Silver Microphone. She has published two nonfiction books. The Imaginary Life is her first novel and her first book in English.

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Review: Lust

Lust

Author: Diana Raab
Series: Standalone
Genre: Poetry, Romance
Publisher: CW Books
Publication Date: February 1st, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 104
Source: Diana Raab
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Book Depository | IndieBound

Rating: 

A passionate journey through private emotional moments, Diana Raab’s Lust voices the pain of loneliness and the heart’s yearning for love while transcending the depths of human desire.

In her fourth book of poetry, Raab employs narrative verse that is alive, titillating, and seductive. Lust examines the emotional and physical complexity of love, helping readers navigate the risks of intimacy as we move toward the realization that every experience enriches our lives, whether we perceive it as joy, pain, or out of the ordinary. Yet for all their psychological richness, the poems’ simplicity and accessibility will resonate with women and men across all walks of life. Lust is a book you won’t put down and won’t soon forget. (Goodreads)


The Good

Lust

“If you know lust like I know lust
you know how it grabs you
in places that feel so good,
in a way that trumps tomorrow.

 It snatches and strangles our pasts away
and forges forbidden futures,
while injecting needles of pure pleasure
into any artery receptive to its dose.”

I decided to give you a little teaser of one of the poems I really enjoyed…and yes it also just happens to be the one with the same title of the book :).

The Book / Cover – Presentation is everything, right? When I received Lust in the mailing I wasn’t expecting it to be so beautiful! The picture above does not do this but justice of how beautiful that cover is. This book this thin and really light, but what I love the most is how soft it is. This might sound weird, but there is just something about it’s softness and the way it sits in my hands that just added to the whole experience of reading Lust.

Lust covers the highs and lows of intimacy. I found myself to be completely lost within the words I was reading, at times I felt like I was in the book. I really believe that Lust just has a way of pulling different emotions out of it’s readers, wither it be passion, sex, or the hunger and thirst for someone.

I don’t think I can say that I have one poem that is my favourite (this may change), every poem touched me in a different way but some of the ones I constantly read over and over again are What Women Want, Muse Me, Found, My Morphine and Protection. These were the poems that I found myself connecting with the most, I’m not sure why exactly but these poems were the ones that just grabbed me. This doesn’t mean I didn’t connect with the other poems because I most certainly did, there isn’t a single poem that I didn’t like.

Lasting Impression

Overall, Lust was a wonderful selection of poems. I’m so happy that TLC Book Tours brought this book to my attention! I highly suggest picking up Lust and giving it a try! 

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About Diana Raab

Diana Raab is an award-winning poet, memoirist, and believer in the healing power of the written word. She began crafting poems at the age of ten when her mother gave her her first Khalil Gibran journal to help her cope with her grandmother and caretaker’s suicide. A few years later she discovered the journals of diarist Anaïs Nin and learned that, like Raab, Nin began journaling as a result of loss (the loss of her father). Much of Raab’s poetry has been inspired by Anaïs Nin’s life and works.

She is the author of four poetry collections, My Muse Undresses Me (2007); Dear Ans: My Life in Poems for You (2008); The Guilt Gene (2009); and Listening to Africa (2011).

Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Rattle, Boiler Room Journal, Rosebud, Litchfield Review, Tonopah Review, South Florida Arts Journal, Prairie Wolf Press, The Citron Review, Writers’ Journal, Common Ground Review, A Café in Space, The Toronto Quarterly, Snail Mail Review, New Mirage Journal, and Jet Fuel Review.

She is editor of two anthologies, Writers and Their Notebooks (2010) and Writers on the Edge (2012), co-edited with James Brown. Both these collections have submissions from poets and prose writers.

Diana has two memoirs, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal (winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction and the National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir), and Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey (winner of the 2011 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction).

She is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and writes a monthly column for the Santa Barbara Sentinel, “The Mindful Word.” She lives in Southern California with her husband, and has three grown children. She is currently working on her doctorate in psychology and is researching the healing power of writing and creativity.

Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review: The Accidental Kiss

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The Accidental Kiss

Author: Nicole Simone
Series: The Kiss series, #1
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Nicole Simone
Publication Date: August 12th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 279
Source: InkSlinger PR
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis (Goodreads):

They were like fire and ice.

But he was everything she didn’t know she needed.

Marked by tragedy, Sky Noel leaves Los Angeles with her mom to start anew in Castor, a small town in Louisiana. It was supposed to be Sky’s chance to have a normal life but she soon finds out normal isn’t written in her DNA.

When a mysterious boy named Daemon shakes up Sky’s fragile hold on reality, she is thrust into a world where zombies and voodoo not only exist in the pages of a novel. They are hidden in the darkest corners where danger lurks and death awaits. With a price on her head, Sky has to put her trust in the boy with the ocean blue eyes but is Daemon everything she was warned against and more?

Tricked into selling his soul, Daemon lives out his existence at the mercy of the voodoo priest. That is until one fateful night when his path is forever changed.

Desperate to atone for his sins, Daemon brings it upon himself to protect Sky at any cost. However, a secret hidden in his past could rip away the very person who makes him feel human again.

 

Opening Lines

The stark white hallways smelled like cleaning fluid as I navigated my way through the throngs of students. I glanced down at the piece of white paper with the number 301 written on it and looked back up. Down right panic coursed through my veins when I realized the lockers didn’t have numbers on them; only weird symbols that looked as if they belonged in a geometry book. I was totally screwed. ”

Excerpt From: Nicole Simone. “The Accidental Kiss.” iBooks.

The Good

…she soon finds out normal isn’t written in her DNA.”

Oh Sky, I kind of giggled at how far from normal her life really is! The second I saw the cover for The Accidental Kiss I just knew I had to read it. I mean have you seen that cover? Go ahead; scroll back up at look at it. Hot right?! I love the pose of the characters, and the smoking background and skulls are a perfect touch for this paranormal book. I honestly had my fingers tripled crossed hoping I would make it onto the tour, and it was my Waiting on Wednesday pick on my other blog. This book sounded amazing and I knew there would be a lot of people signing up. Thank you InkSlinger PR!!

I devoured this book as soon as I received the ARC, I read it so fast that a couple of days later I had to re-read it. I did some research and found out that Nicole has been working on this story for 5 years, this just goes to prove that handwork really pays off! I loved this book so much. I don’t read a lot of Paranormal books because I’m a picky individual but this one is making it onto my paranormal favourites list! The world building was executed perfectly, which is something a lot of authors struggle with in the fantasy and paranormal genre. There is a unique and interesting combination of zombies (omg, yes) and magic/voodoo that really works out well in this story.

Now let’s talk about the characters, they are just PERFECT! Sky is an all around great character, she can handle her own and does a really good job at adapting to her new lifestyle, plus I loved her attitude. Now Daemon…can I have him? Please?! If I was to ever come across a real life Daemon I would jump him in a heartbeat! The chemistry between them is great, and the sexual tension. OMG! I had the biggest grin on my face while reading certain parts of this! And the little one liners Daemon would give had me laughing so hard. Daemon and Sky were seriously a perfect combination that really complemented each other. The only thing I didn’t like, and it’s really minor, was the ending! For me it came too soon and now I’m impatiently waiting for book two! I’ll be stalking Nicole’s Goodreads page & Website to try until I find a release date :).

Lasting Impression

Overall, The Accidental Kiss did not disappoint me! I cannot wait to continue with this series, seriously I just can’t wait. I also plan on reading more by Nicole Simone, I really love her writing style. I’ll be re-reading this again later this month, yes I loved it THAT much!

4.5 stars

Giveaway!

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About the Author

Nicole Simone works in digital media by day and at night, pen’s character driven romance novels that will make your mama blush. She lives in Los Angeles, C.A with her fat bulldog named Humphrey.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Review: Finding Hope

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Finding Hope

Author: Beth Fred
Series: A Missing Peace, #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Beth Fred
Publication Date: September 1st, 2014
Format: ebook
Source: Itching For Books
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads):

When insecure eighteen-year-old Kailee Hill gets caught tagging Iraq war refugee, Abrahem Yohanna’s garage, she’s not expecting him to act as her designated driver, hold her hair back when she pukes, or offer to be a shoulder to cry on. But she’s failing chemistry and her life is falling apart, so she uses the number Abe leaves her and finds herself with a new tutor.

The two quickly find themselves falling hard for each other. Kailee attacks a local grunt when he calls Abe a “sand nigger” and fights with her veteran brother to be with him. When she learns Abe hasn’t told his family about her, she’s heartbroken and the couple risks losing everything they’ve worked to build. To make matters worse, Kailee’s previous acts make her the prime suspect in a serious crime. With Kailee behind bars and doubting his feelings for her, Abe must find a way to rescue the girl he loves and win back her affection . And to do that he’ll have to catch a crook…

 

Opening Lines

Abrahem

A sports car sat at the curb in front of my house. Ommy worked nights and I was driving her car, so someone was at the house with Mirriam. I sighed. At least, it wasn’t that punk across the street. He didn’t drive a sports car, and he would have just crossed the street.”

Excerpt From: Beth Fred. “Finding Hope.” iBooks.

The Good

Finding Hope, the book that gave me serious whiplash!! There were a couple of different points throughout this book that I sat there and actually yelled “Wait…what!?” out loud. This was the first time I’ve ever read anything with a war reference, Iraq or PTSD. I was a little nervous at first that I wouldn’t really be able to relate to the story, but that didn’t happen.

When I first started reading Finding Hope I wasn’t too impressed with Kailee’s character but she quickly grew on me! We get to see her character develop through this story and seeing what she goes through, and what her personal life is like really helps you come to understand her. I loved the dynamics of Abrahem and Kailee’s relationship. Definitely an unlikely couple, but I found they worked out well together. While I found each character within this story to be interesting and a good mix to the plot, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing some information. I wish I knew that this was originally part of a series, I would have loved to have read book 1 first to get the full history of each character.

Finding Hope touches on some pretty heavy topics and issues that made this book more realistic, relatable and just unique. It was interesting reading about PTSD and racism. I also enjoyed the sub-plots that took place with each character. Although I felt like Jackson’s story was rushed and I would love to seem him get his own book. Maybe there will be a book 3?! I can only hope…

Lasting Impression

Overall, Finding Hope was an interesting read! I was pleasantly surprise with this being my first time reading a book that handled Iraq & PTSD. I’ll have to try and find the first book so I can read them back to back and get the full picture of all the characters.

3.5 Stars

Giveaway!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth Fred is a full time ELF keeper and part time author/blogger/writing instructor. She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. Beth likes her tea hot, her romance sweet, and her guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma’am, make promises they keep, and aren’t afraid to profess their undying love. It’s not breakfast if there aren’t carbs (at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just few of her favorite things. Bet you can’t guess where she’s from 😉

bethfred.blogspot.com | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

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Review: Playing With Matches

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Playing With Matches

Author: Suri Rosen
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Romance
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 255
Source: ECW Press
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Chapters | Kobo | Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads):

A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker!

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt-but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One.

Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her secret life catch up with her?

In this debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.

 

**I received an advanced copy from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review**

Opening Lines

Here’s some advice if you plan on taking the Number 7 down Bathurst Street at 7:36 a.m. Do not sit downwind from the woman eating the industrial-grade tuna fish. And if The Groomer is on the bus, get ready to duck at the first sign of the nail clippers.”

The Good

If I could sum up Playing With Matches using only one word it would be Cute with a capital C!! Seriously, I think my face still hurts from smiling so much awhile reading this!

First off I just have to talk about the cover and my physical copy of this book. I was sent a PDF version until Playing with Matches was ready to be mailed out; when I opened the PDF I was so surprised by the cover design. I love the choice of colors and font used. I remember looking at it thinking how soft it looks! And when it came in the mail and I basically fell in love with it. The cover, the back of it, the font used, colour choices, the text style and the little arrows were all just beautiful touches to make this book look fantastic! And the spine! Let me just say that this book looks amazing on my bookshelf. I mean, if you still want to go and buy the ebook version, sure knock yourself out! But you’ll be missing out on one BEAUTIFUL book!

Raina Resnick is the main character and narrator throughout Playing With Matches, and I have to say that her character brought this story to life! I loved her character development throughout the book, it made her into a realistic character that people can relate to. I admit I was on the fence on if I would really like Raina’s character at the start of the book, but you quickly grow to love her. One thing that really bothered me was Raina’s family. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU BLAME HER?! Ben was clearly a loser who didn’t understand that no family is perfect. My heart broke for Raina,  she was really just trying to make everyone else happy. Who hasn’t been in a similar situation of trying to make others happy?!

Now Suri Rosen…debut novel? Lies I tell you, LIES!! I’m only kidding. But Suri Rosen if you happen to actually read this I would like you to know that I am in awe of you. The writing style was perfect, everything just had a great flow. I have to say the biggest (and best) thing that I didn’t see coming was the fact that Suri Rosen didn’t focus on giving Raina a love interest. This made Playing With Matches refreshing and unique compared to all the young adult books that do focus on love interest. Suri Rosen proved that there is more to a character than falling in love, and that’s an important message!

Lasting Impression

Overall, Playing With Matches was such a cute read and I loved it to pieces!! A unique and refreshing read that has made its way onto my favourites list. A huge congratulations goes out to Suri Rosen, what a fantastic debut novel! I look forward to reading more of her work. Did I love it? YES. Should you read it? HECK YES!!!

5 stars

 

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One (1) paperback copy of Playing With Matches!

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