Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance By Pauline West Book Review!

 

What struck me most about Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance (2015) by Pauline West was the realness of it. Page by page, it felt like a fictional look at real life and the real emotions people feel inwardly as well outwardly. Each character is very well rounded and we get to know even characters that aren’t the two central characters Lily and Ry very well.

Set in Charleston in South Carolina, the book is the first in a three-part series and follows the main character Lily Inoue who is a waitress who falls in love with the wealthy Ry Calhoun. Without spoiling anything, there is many ups and downs in their journey of love which is all very interesting and keeps you turning the page. What is great about these two characters is that they are both quite complicated and have so many different aspects to their personalities. I especially love the feistiness of Lily and the gentleness of Ry. I think it’s always an interesting romantic starting point when you pair a working-class person and a rich person and show that their love can cross that boundary of class and that they want to be together despite outside pressure from other people and society in general so as a reader, you’re always going to be fighting for them to bypass those boundaries and pressures in the pursuit of love. Lily and Ry are polar opposites in so many ways and yet very similar in more ways. There’s also a lot of background information about both Lily and Ry which helps the reader know where they are coming from more in situations that occur. What is really good about both of them, and in general most of the characters, is that they feel imperfect but not overly imperfect and therefore real. I also loved Lily’s relationship with her father Steve too.

There is quite a steamy element to the book which I didn’t mind but if that’s not your bag than this book might not be for you. Just warning you all of that! 🙂

As much as I like Lily and Ry, my favourite characters were Beren and Chandler. I took to the two of them instantly and was very invested in their love story. I knew someone who reminded me of Beren in the past so he reminded me of him which was nice because he was a lovely person. So yes, I didn’t want Lily and Ry to not be together but I really didn’t want Beren and Chandler not to be together! I absolutely loved them and like Lily and Ry, they were very real and rounded characters.

My only slight problem character-wise was with Madison. I know she’s supposed to be the bitch who is trying to tear Lily and Ry apart but she felt very one-dimensional to me. I felt like that was her only purpose in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I was never going to like her but I just felt she should have some good qualities as even people who aren’t nice do and I felt nothing. It felt like she was a robot instead of human and very much there just to show how Ry would want to be with Lily instead of her. In saying that, some of Lily’s lines in scenes with Madison were classic and I found myself chuckling along and saying, “You tell her girl!”. Madison is probably a difficult character to make human but still.

This book ends on a cliffhanger like all good trilogies so I was delighted to have the follow-up books on stand-by because, and this is a very good sign, I wanted to know what happened next. There’s clearly been a lot of work put into this book and as both a reader and writer I appreciated that. And this is a gorgeously written and intriguing romance that like me, I’m sure you’ll enjoy very much.

I will be reviewing the next two books in the trilogy over time so keep your eyes open for those two reviews. 🙂

I received an ARC from the author, with no obligation to review.

To purchase Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance by Pauline West go to:

 

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Joys R Us Review!

 

Joys R Us by Kim Fielding is a brilliant Christmas read following the love story of financial analyst Reece and toy shop assistant Angel. After Reece’s sister Holly asks Reece to queue up to get the most popular new Christmas toy the Daredevil Danny for her son and his nephew Aiden, Reece finds himself in a rather dangerous queue where he is knocked over and thus meets Angel. Overly practical, Reece is very cynical of Christmas but soon Angel brings him on a trek around the city to see the true joy of Christmas.

 

There is a wonderful chemistry between Reece and Angel. They are very opposites attract and it really works. Throughout they feel like a couple who are at ease in each other’s company and you can’t bear the idea of them not getting together. There was a lovely spirit of Christmas in this piece right down to the Christmas style names of Angel and Holly. All the characters are also very rounded and there is also a bit of  nod to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with Reece visiting three locations on Angel’s instruction to see the true meaning of Christmas.

 

A very beautiful romantic Christmas read.

To get your copy of Joys R Us by Kim Fielding go to:

 

 

A Christmas in Cornwall Review!

 

A Christmas in Cornwall by Laura Briggs is a wonderful Christmas read. It is the second book in the 9 book series following on from book 1 in the series A Wedding in Cornwall and follows the protagonist event planner Julianne Morgen as she celebrates her first Christmas in the Cornish village of Ceffylgwyn after moving over from Seattle. The story follows her love story with English horticulturist Matthew Rose as they struggle to make the step from friendship to romance despite both being in love with each other. As the book progresses Julianne’s ex-boyfriend Dwight arrives in England to work in London. He contacts Julianne to help some people he knows Benjamin and Daphne to plan their wedding which Julianne does alongside her work for the grand charitable ball planned at Cliffs House for Christmas. Added into this Matthew has been offered his teaching job back – only snag it’s in Massachusetts leaving Matthew with a difficult decision and leaving time running out for them both to tell each other how they feel.

The plot unfolds gradually at a perfect speed. When you think no more twists in the plot will happen another one is just around the corner. There is also many Christmas references in the book which really set the scene and excellent backstory for each of the main characters giving you a real sense of their personalities. However a bit of a letdown for me was the main character. I liked her up to near the end of the story. However when she slapped Dwight across the face it was hard to like her. Yes, his intentions weren’t great but still, hitting him was extreme. She didn’t seem to feel any remorse after either and just went back to concentrating on her feelings for Matthew so while I liked the book I wasn’t as fond of the main character.

Matthew is my favourite character in the book. He comes across very likable and his feelings for Julianne are lovely. It’s probably not a good sign though that I would rather he went and found someone nicer. But my dislike of Julianne can’t and shouldn’t take away from the fact that this is a wonderfully written book otherwise. There is excellent attention to detail and it is beautifully crafted. A wonderful Christmas read.

Get your free copy of A Christmas in Cornwall by Laura Briggs at:

 

My Christmas Book Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories Is Now Available On Amazon!

 

I have put together a collection of six short stories called Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories which is now available on Amazon. It’s the first Christmas book I’ve written and I loved putting it together. Now it’s back to writing my next novel 🙂 …

Hope you all enjoy it. 🙂

To purchase Ketchup & Other Short Christmas Stories go to:

Nocturnal Lessons By Olivia Helling Review!

 

Nocturnal Lessons (2015) by Olivia Helling is the first book in the Damon Snow series of books. It was a wonderful read from start to finish.

 

The story is set in Mother Dover’s brothel where protagonist Damon works. He is someone who acts very sure of himself, all macho doesn’t believe in love, doesn’t believe it exists and yet as the book progresses we see that his emotions about love begin to change slightly and he begins to be slightly more open to the prospect and shows that there is romance in his heart when he plays cupid for his friend who works as a prostitute alongside him Kendall and a client Price. He’s very interesting and there is a complexness there within him that is going to make for a very interesting series of books. And he seems to have a really good heart that he’s buried deep in order not to be hurt. Helling writes into her stories a variety of very rounded characters with their own individual personalities so while you’ll probably like all the main characters, you will probably take to one more so than the others. For me, I took very much to Kendall. I think he reminded me a lot of myself and I knew where he was coming from a lot. There’s a vulnerability to Kendall but there’s a lot of strength there too. He has come from a very difficult situation and he’s determined but also daunted by the prospect of happiness with Price. And he’s bit of an old romantic too. Price was a wonderful character too. He is a character that you get to know as each layer peels away of his story and his personality. And then there’s Byrne who is Damon’s mentor. He seems like quite a complex character. His intentions seem to make sense but his method is very complex and you aren’t always sure where he’s going with it. But hey, that’s probably a good thing as it’s a series. Rogers is also a great character. He’s sort of played a supporting role in this book but I kind of hope in books to come that he’s going to end up with Damon. There is a kind of a comfort and ease with the two of them when they are together which I think is great and I’d love to see them progressing to the next level. Be warned, I haven’t read the rest of the books yet so I’m probably barking up the wrong tree with that one! 🙂

Damon is an incubus and I’ll just touch on that fact briefly. I had to Google what it meant. I didn’t think it added much to the first book but as a series I think it will feature more most likely in future books and I think we were probably introduced to that fact for the sake of the plot of future books more than this one. I think it was interesting however though to make him an incubus and not make it a central theme because after all it’s only a part of him and there’s so much more to him than the fact he’s an incubus.

This book is an interesting story of love, learning about life and love, friendship and Damon’s search to find himself. It is interesting throughout and leaves you wanting to know what happens in the books that follow to Damon, Kendall and co. I intend to read the rest of the series in the future. This book is a must-read. Helling has a very natural writing style. Completely the kind of style I like in writing. The writer who came to mind who I would compare Helling’s writing to was Agatha Christie. Obviously the genres they write are very different but the way they put it down on paper is similar and I think that’s really cool.

 

To purchase Nocturnal Lessons by Olivia Helling go to:

 

Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter By Kent Wayne Review!

 

 

Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne (2015) is a wonderful and gripping read with excellent descriptive detail. Set in the latter part of the 21st century, humans have left Earth and are now residing on a planet called Echo. 1200 years pass and the citizens living on Echo are being suppressed by society while the authority called the Regime rules over them. A large rebel group called the Dissidents are a source of concern for the police and military. Amongst all the chaos we find the protagonist Atriya, a former enforcer, whose idealist nature is in contrast with the oppression surrounding him.

It is a very action packed novel with detailed observation by the central character. As I read, I was reminded of Tom Rob Smith’s writing. Wayne has that same attention to detail which easily paints a picture of the various locations and characters in your mind as well as making a lot of information a reader needs to know accessible and easy to follow. There’s a lot of fictional military rank structures and Wayne makes it very easy to follow even for readers like me who wouldn’t have clue about how structures of rank work. The story also has an underlying social commentary element to it. You can’t help seeing similarities to our own world with those above and below the law but done in a fictional sci-fi way. It speaks about inequality, power struggles and oppression in society and how people often turn a blind eye to it to advance even though they can see the world is in a state of decay. It also represents in parts how people get socially-conditioned to a certain way of life and can’t understand when people bring up change or progress. Wayne also wonderfully captures the inner turmoil and confusion many people feel about this resistance to change structures and attitudes through the central character and I could definitely relate to that. But my favorite character and the character I identified with the most was Verus. She’s just this ordinary woman but really gutsy and seems to go for what she wants as opposed to what she thinks society wants for her and I hope to see her more in later books of the series.

A very interesting author biography is also included with the story as are the first three chapters of book 2 in the series which looks really good.

All in all, a brilliant read which leaves the reader wanting to see how Atriya’s journey continues and the story progresses in the follow-up novels.

To purchase Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne go to:

And for more information on Kent Wayne’s work go to:

My Novel Defying Gravity Is Now Available On Amazon!

My novel Defying Gravity is now available on Amazon. Set in London, it follows the love story of Ethan and Alan (although I call them Eth and Al most of the time), two ballroom dancers who form a dance partnership and fall in love along the way.

I loved writing the characters and I learned an awful lot about the ballroom world and the history of ballroom dance while writing the book. It wasn’t something I knew a lot about prior to starting my research for Defying Gravity so that was very interesting.

To purchase Defying Gravity go to:

Thank you! 🙂