Book Review: Charm & Survival (From Siberia With Love #3)

Title: Charm & Survival (From Siberia with Love #3)
Author: Ilana Cohen
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Steaming hot lovers are reunited by tragedy . . .

Edith can’t capture Alex, the wildly attractive ladies’ man who she believes to be her destiny. On his way to a romantic rendez-vous with another woman, Alex suffers a terrible car crash. The tragic event returns him to Edith. After a long stay in the hospital, bandaged and injured, Alex is now a broken vessel, his beautiful face cracked with ugly scars.

Edith’s reward for undying love that does not judge: five-star sex!

Edith welcomes her lover back. In her arms Alex becomes himself once more and graces his beloved with the professional, five-star sex that Edith has come to know and love.

Tantalizing sex with tales of mind-boggling adventure from the wilds of Siberia

Alex also regales Edith with countless stories of his wild and daring exploits in the wilderness of Siberia. His audacious personality and bold curiosity led him to experience unbridled sex and adventure in the untamed forests, mines, and villages of that huge Soviet wasteland. Join Edith as she is transported to Siberia by Alex’s descriptions and then return to their steamy love-nest in Israel.

I previously read and reviewed the first two books in the series: Joy & Survival and Mystery & Survival, and rated both of those 3 stars. Charm & Survival, in my view at least, surpassed both books, being my favorite in the series so far.

Alex is a ladies’ man. Edith, who believes Alex is the love of her life, should know that by now yet she stubbornly refuses to admit it to herself, even when Alex goes out for a romantic rendez-vous with another woman. On the way over, Alex suffers a terrible car crash, though, an event that turns him to Edith. As he’s now stuck to a hospital bed, injured, scarred, Edith becomes his confidante.

He tells her of his adventures back in Siberia, some of those rather sexual in nature, and Edith and Alex grow closer together as Alex heals.

More than the other books, there’s a strong erotic element in this one, and Alex and Edith are finally becoming like real partners in a relationship. Maybe not a very conventional relationship, but a relationship nonetheless. I liked Alex more in this book than I did in the previous ones. Edith also appears slightly more naive, although sometimes I still wanted to knock some sense into her.

Anyway, fans of travel stories, of erotic adventures, and of struggling characters will enjoy this book. Definitely for adults, though, as it comes with a lot of steamy scenes.

Bewaren
Bewaren

Book Review: Joy & Survival (From Siberia with Love #1) by Ilana Cohen

Title: Joy & Survival (From Siberia with Love #1)
Author: Ilana Cohen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Travel
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Edith falls for a man from the other side of the world. The impulse and passion he has brought to her world will turn her life upside down.

After Edith’s husband dies, she invests herself in her day job at the bank when, one day, she is paid a visit by a handsome, mysterious man who will change her life forever.

Alex, a charismatic and brilliant scientist of Russian origin, immediately dazzles Edith with his wealth, achievements and style. She listens attentively as he narrates the memories of his childhood in Siberia – a previous life in a distant world, hard to imagine and impossible to ignore. Edith is blinded by his shimmering presence, but Alex is married.

An invisible thread connects the two strangers who have been brought together by destiny – but for what cause?

In Alex, she finds an escape from reality – into the distant and foreign landscapes of alienated and frozen nature. It is within this distant, almost imaginary landscape that she is able to find herself, for the very first time. Within the stories of this perfect stranger, who has grown in the other side of the world, Edith finds a familiarity and a precious sense of belonging. What will she be willing to risk for this frozen love?

An exciting novel about untainted love, sweeping emotions, faith and passion that will sweep you off your feet.

I first read Mystery & Survival (the second book in the series) before I read Joy & Survival. I do recommend starting with the first book, as it will all make more sense that way. However, I still enjoyed book two without having read book one first – but now I’ve read the first book, I enjoyed the series even more.

Anyway, on to the story. After the death of her husband, Edith dedicated herself to her work. She doesn’t know what else to do, and she’s not really interested in dating anyone. That is, until she meets Alex.

Alex is a brilliant scientist of Russian origin. He’s charming and enigmatic, extremely wealthy, and also very confident. He seems like the perfect catch. One problem, though. Alex is already married.

As Alex shares his story of his childhood growing up in Siberia with Edith, a near stranger, the two of them form a connection that might prove unbreakable.

Edith is a tough character to like, first because she falls for a married man, but also because she’s very naive. However, that part of her is also endaring, and it made me feel sorry for her more than anything. The back stories of both main characters were fleshed out and interesting, and I liked that, it gave them dimension and personality.

Having already read the second book, I knew a little of what to expect, but I was still pleasantly surprised at times.

Book Review: Until Ray by Cheryl Robinson

Title: Until Ray
Author: Cheryl Robinson
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Two people in the same city but worlds apart.

Until Ray is an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.

HE IS LOST…

Ray lives in northwest Detroit in a four-family flat with his mother. When he’s not at home, Ray’s either at the mall selling women’s shoes or in the club. In both places, he’s focused on one thing—picking up women. Dissatisfied, dysfunctional, and leagues behind his peers, Ray’s ready for a change but isn’t sure how to make it happen.

THEN SHE ARRIVES…

At twenty-four, Sarita has an MBA, is a CPA, and works in upper-level management at GM. But all that success comes at a cost: she’s lonely and craves the one thing she’s never had—attention from men. Until now. Dr. Graham Emerson wants to marry Sarita, and her parents expect her to, but Sarita isn’t convinced he’s the one for her. On a blind date, she meets Ray Saint and is immediately drawn in by his good looks and sense of humor. But his reputation for being a ladies’ man raises several red flags. Ray swears he’s changed. Is giving up a sure thing for a maybe worth the risk?

Set in the mid-eighties, Until Ray explores life and love through the lenses of colorism, classism, and family dysfunction.

Until Ray is an unconventional love story set in the mid-eighties. Two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other, but their bond gets tested time and again. Ray is a character who you just want to slap some sense into. He lives in a four-family flat with his mother, and he works at the mall selling women’s shoes. He spends most of his free time in the club, picking up women. He has deep-rooted emotional issues that stop him from becoming the person he could one day be.

Sarita is different, but she too has a vast array of issues. She has an MBA and works in upper-level management. However, success in her career comes at a high cost: she’s lonely and lacks attention from men, something she craves for often. Dr. Graham Emerson wants to marry her, and her parents expect her to say yes, but Sarita isn’t convinced he’s the one for her. She meets Ray on a blind date and is immediately drawn in by his good looks and sense of humor… But can she trust a ladies’ man like Ray?

The strength of this novel is showing how dysfunction brings forth more dysfunction. Sarita has led a sheltered life, and is a bit naive when it comes to matters of the heart. Ray starts out as a womanizer, and though he often swears he’ll change, change isn’t that easily accomplished, as it shows by him often failing in what he sets out or swears to do. I too, like Sarita, offered him probably more chances than he deserved, and felt let down when, once again, he just didn’t appreciate the chances he was given.

Ultimately, it’s a strong book, an emotional rollercoaster that shows that you can’t always change people, and not all people will mature properly, no matter how much you try. It has a lot of depth, the characters all have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and overall, it’s an intriguing read.

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Book Review: Another’s Child by Einat Danon

Title: Another’s Child
Author: Einat Danon
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine inheriting a child that you don’t even know!

One morning, Yael and Arik Katz are startled by a surprise inheritance: Noa, the ten-year-old daughter of Canadian friends with whom they had made a long-forgotten will-exchange agreement, is delivered to their doorstep with no warning. Why did her parents decide that she should grow up with acquaintances rather than family? How do you raise a girl you do not even know?

Secrets and lies are revealed and everything starts to get complicated

Noa does not find her place in Israel. Yael takes her back to Toronto to look for a more suitable adoptive home. The search reveals answers to questions that have not even been asked about parenthood, marital relations, love, one’s home, and the fragility of life.

Can life ever be the same again?

As Yael delves into Noa’s past to better understand her, she discovers some unflattering things about her own partner and that the connection between her family and Noa is deeper than it had seemed. These shocking revelations leave Yael with a serious dilemma about her own family relationships.

Another’s Child offers an intriguing concept. One morning, Yael and Arik Katz receive a surprise inheritance: the ten-year-old daughter of Canadian friends with whom they’d made a long-forgotten will-exchange agreement arrives on their doorstep, with no warning beforehand. Why did her parents decide it better for her to grow up with distant acquintances than family? How do you raise a girl you don’t know? Can Noa, the girl, make a home for herself in Israel?

When Yael takes Noa back to Toronto to find a more suitable adoptive home for the ten-year-old, it raises important questions about parenthood, love, the fragility of life, and what the meaning is of a place you can call home. As Yael delves deeper into Noa’s past, she discovers secrets that make her question everything she’s ever believed in.

The characters were intriguing, especially the dynamics between Yael and Noa had me interested. The story itself is rather original, although the plot of suddenly having to take care of a child you’ve never seen, reminded me of a comedy movie I’d once seen. But apart from that, I hadn’t seen this plot before, so I quite enjoyed it, as well as the focus on family relationships and dynamics.

The writing didn’t always convince me, though, and I found it a little subpar to the rest of the book, hence why I didn’t rate it 4 stars. But don’t let that stop you, the story is quite enjoyable and the characters are very interesting.

Book Review: Spoonful Chronicles by Elen Ghulam

Title: Spoonful Chronicles
Author: Elen Ghulam
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Thaniya Rasid grew up in the Middle East dreaming of becoming a surgeon. Now living an ordinary life as a mother, wife and a hospital lab tech in Vancouver, Canada, she garners unexpected fame as youTube’s Queen of Hummus when her video demonstrating the recipe goes viral. How could blending chickpeas in a food processor generate so much excitement? And how could her life have ended up so far away from all her expectations?

To make sense of the unlikely events that have brought her to this place, Thaniya turns to food, curating memorable eating experiences of her life, searching for clues. Between her childhood aversion to cucumbers, her search for an authentic Iraqi kubeh in the city of Jerusalem, her 10-year tomato wars with her husband Samih, a mood altering encounter with a blood pudding in Edinburgh, and a Kafkaesque nightmare involving a cauliflower, Thaniya unravels repeated patterns occurring in her life. The secrets of love, friendship and destiny hidden in her cauldron of mishmashed cultures begin to reveal themselves.

Between lust and disgust there is a thin line. Spoonful Chronicles is the beguiling story of one woman taking hold of her fate by uncovering the clandestine geography of this divide in her heart.

Spoonful Chronicles is the story of Thaniya Rasid, a woman who grew up in the Middle East and dreamt of becoming a surgeon. Now she lives an ordinary life – mother, wife, hospital lab tech, in Canada. Thaniya becomes rapidly famous when a Youtube video of her demonstrating a recipe goes viral. Thaniya wonders how one meaningless video about food could get so much excitement… And also about the strange twists her life has taken to make her end up her.

She goes on a trip down memory lane, revisiting past memories with connections to food, searching for clues to how food has helped shape her life. The book isn’t just about food, though, it’s about much more – about the different cultures Thaniya has been exposed to in her life, about life itself and all its up and downs, about childhood dreams and how far away from them we often end up, about happiness and how it can be found in the simplest things.

This is a book that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Fans of women’s fiction will devour this one.

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Book Review: A Dog’s Luck by Liora Barash Morgenstern

Title: A Dog’s Luck
Author: Liora Barash Morgenstern
Genre: Psychological, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

People, dogs, and what lies between them

Ellie, a young woman writing her philosophy dissertation, becomes disrupted by echoes from the past. She follows the voices replaying in her mind to an introspective examination of her childhood and adolescence within her extended family. This intimate inspection of relationships between family members–and the family’s dogs–leads her to uncover three generations of the family secrets and the focal points of tension in the family’s history.

A story of love, separation and longing

A Dog’s Luck is a unique, moving and thought-provoking work of literary art that deals with existential issues in a heartfelt, high-tempo and dynamic style. It touches on love, separation and longing, in an expressive, multi-layered language that provokes the readers to reflect upon subtle nuances of their own inner worlds.

In A Dog’s Luck, author Liora Barash Morgenstern explores the relationship between family members and the family’s dogs, and how this relates to three generations of family secrets. The main character, Ellie, who is writing her philosophy dissertation, replays her childhood and adolescence in her mind, uncovering these relationships and finding out more about herself and her family in the process.

The book is literary fiction, so the style is quite flowery at times, but it didn’t bother her. It’s quite an introspective book too, an touches upon several existential issues. I enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it to fans of women’s fiction and/or literary fiction.

Book Review and Giveaway Waiting For You

2ndkindlecoverTitle: Waiting for You
Author: Allison Williford
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

This day would always be burned into her memory, an ugly brand leaving its scar. 

Losing a loved one to death will always leave a gaping hole in our hearts — something 23-year-old Kylie Lewis knows all too well. But do we allow it to destroy us, leaving us terrified of ever loving again? Or do we force ourselves to pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts and continue with our lives?

Kylie’s quiet, rote life — working as a columnist at the Charleston Herald, hanging out with her best friend, Cat, and downtime with her mother — is soon turned upside down. Cat drags her to a concert, where she meets Adam Bell, an aspiring musician with a history of his own loss. Shortly after, her mother receives a devastating diagnosis of terminal breast cancer.

Stricken with the fear of her inevitable loss, Kylie struggles with her budding relationship with Adam. But with the help of Adam’s empathy, can she learn to grieve her mother without shutting out the world, as she once did after her father’s death? Can she learn to love in spite of her losses?

Waiting for You is a story of loss, grief, and love.

In Waiting For You, 23-year-old Kylie Lewis knows how painful it is to lose a loved one. She’s terrified of loving someone ever again, but at the same time, part of her wants to move on with her life. Life consists of working as a columnist, hanging out with her BFF and spending time with her mother. But when her best friend Cat drags her along to a concert, she meets Adam Bell.

Adam is an aspiring musician, and he too has known loss. Kylie and Adam start hanging out more, and a budding relationship blossoms between them. But when Kylie’s mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Kylie’s world comes crashing down all around her. After already losing one loved one, can she stand to lose another? And can she trust Adam enough to help her through the darkness ahead?

This novel brought me to the verge of tears more than once. The author does a phenomenal job of establishing the characters, their roles and relationships. I especially liked Kylie, and Adam. Adam is sweet and caring, and having lost my father too, it was easy for me to relate to Kylie and truly feel her pain.

I also enjoyed the writing. It starts off quite slow, and although there’s an instant attraction between Adam and Kylie, their relationship takes a while to grow, and I really enjoyed that. I much prefer slow romance rather than insta-love, so this was my kind of read.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants a book that will make you smile and cry at practically the same time, and who enjoys a decent women’s fiction novel.

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Book Review: The Kaminsky Cure by Christopher New

the kaminsky cure cover comp (1) (1)Title: The Kaminsky Cure
Author: Christopher New
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant yet comedic novel of a half Jewish/half Christian family caught up in the machinery of Hitler’s final solution. The matriarch, Gabi, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity in her teens. The patriarch, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who, on one hand is an admirer of Hitler, but on the other hand, the conflicted father of children who are half-Jewish. Mindful and resentful of her husband’s ambivalence, Gabi is determined to make sure her children are educated, devising schemes to keep them in school even after learning that any child less than 100% Aryan will eventually be kept from completing education. She even hires tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children and in this way comes to hire Fraulein Kaminsky who shows Gabi how to cure her frustration and rage: to keep her mouth filled with water until the urge to scream or rant has passed.

The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant tale of a half Jewish/half Christian family during Hitler’s reign. Gabi, the mother of the family, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity as a teenager. Her husband, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who struggles with a certain admiration for Hitler, while on the other hand, he desperately wants to protect his family. Frustrations run high, as Gabi struggles to make sure her children are educated, even if this proves troublesome and they have to hire private tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children. One of these tutors is Fraulein Kaminsky, who teaches Gabi “The Kaminsky Cure” to control her rage.

I enjoyed the complexity of the characters. The book is very character driven, and I thought in particular Gabi and Willibald were very interesting. Willibald’s struggle between his Aryan beliefs and his family, who he loves and hates at the same time, felt very realistic. Gabi is a very brave woman, willing to defy and stand up for her children. The story is told from the POV of the youngest son, which is a refreshing change, and allows for an interesting perspective.

Historical fiction fans, particular those with an interest in the World War II era, I highly recommend you take a look at The Kaminsky Cure.

Book Review: Nothing is Lost in Loving

Moguez_NothingIsLostInLoving_jpgTitle: Nothing is Lost in Loving
Author: Brenda Moguez
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When Stella Delray unexpectedly loses her job a week before Christmas, which is also the anniversary of her husband’s death, she is forced to stop talking to his ashes, come to terms with her loss, and get her life back on track for her young son’s sake as well as her own. She never expected that posting an ad on Craigslist would send her into the arms of not one but two men, one of whom is her former boss. Now she’s working as an admin for a retired Broadway star, bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the mysterious “Oaklander.” Adding to the craziness of her new life, her monster-in-law resurfaces and the father-in-law she never met shows up on her doorstep. With the guidance of her best friend, Bono, Stella will learn to redefine the rules she’s always lived by.

In Nothing is Lost in Loving, Stella Delray loses her job a week before Christmas, on the anniversary of her husband’s death. It’s a forceful wake up call that she has to get her life back on track, not just for herself, but also for her young son’s sake. She posts an ad on Craiglist that sends her to work as an admin for a retired Broadway star, handle bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the anonymous”Oaklander”.
I really enjoyed the writing in this story about starting over and second chances. It flows well, and the pacing is fast but not too fast. I got a good grasp of Stella’s personality, and I felt for her almost immediately. She suffered through a lot, and now, she’s finding the strength to move on.
An inspiring read about one woman’s journey. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys women’s fiction.

Book Review: A Falling Friend by Sue Fatherson and Susan Pape

AFF coverTitle: A Falling Friend
Author: Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.

Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

A clever, raw and hilarious character-driven masterpiece that follows the lives of two friends with the same ambitions, but who have vastly different ways of a achieving them.

In A Falling Friend, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire after spending several years sailing the globe, thinking only of “carpe diem”. Now she’s gone back to studying, and her friend Lee Harper has set her up with a job at the university where she teaches. But Lee fears that Teri’s actions will lead to some dire consequences, but since Teri isn’t the type of person who would heed a warning, Lee can only stand by and watch while her friend’s life spirals toward disaster.

I really enjoyed the British humor throughout this book. I love it when I can tell when a book is set in Britain, or when it’s set in the States just by the way the characters speak and behave, and I could do that here. Teri is an intriguing character, but I liked Lee more. The both of them go through a lot of character development during the course of the book, and by the end, they’re vastly different from the people they were at the start. Teri isn’t a very likeable person, but as a character in a book, she was interesting. Although I often wondered how Lee could put up with her. I did enjoy her obsession with the Earl of Rochester – this was a nice touch that made her more intriguing.

The book relies on characterization more than story, and it does outstanding in that regard. A wonderful read for fans of women’s fiction, and I certainly enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel.