Double Book Review

It’s not often that I read two similar books in the same week. Recently, I read The Love Detective, by Alexandra Potter and Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella. Both authors are British, and write almost exclusively in the ‘chick lit’ category.

A side note: I absolutely hate that classification of novels. Chick lit implies that only women will read it or enjoy it, or even that only the girliest of girls will like it. I read almost everything, from science fiction to romance to the classics. Among those novels, are many books by both these authors. These novels I’ve listed are both their most recent releases.

Wedding Night (WN) is about two sisters, Fliss and Lottie. Lottie flees a botched proposal, thinking she never really knew her boyfriend. She goes straight into the arms of a former lover and they rush into a whirlwind marriage and honeymoon in Greece. Fliss is still recovering from a terrible divorce and dealing with all the custody and property battles that come with that. She’s terribly protective of her younger sister and takes it upon herself to save Lottie from what Fliss views as the biggest mistake of her life.

In The Love Detective (TLD), Ruby, a writer with writer’s block, flies to India to meet up with her wilder, younger sister, Amy, who has been traveling the world. There, she has a wonderful time, relaxing, enjoying the food, the beach and the environment. Then Amy announces that she’s eloping with Shine, the yoga guru from the resort. Ruby, who had been on her way out of India, turns right around and tries to save her sister from what she thinks is the biggest mistake of her life.

I told you they were similar! You’d almost think these two authors conspired to write similar books at a similar time but I doubt that’s the case. I’d been anticipating both these books and was so excited to pick them up at the nearby Chapters a couple weeks ago. I tore through TLD in two days, I think, in between work and sleep. :) Then I started on WN, and read it in a few more days. Both books featured loving but flaky or serious sisters. They featured adventures in exotic lands and hints of romance on all sides. That is where the similarity ends.

WN started out with a funny idea and what is probably a common thought for a lot of people. What if you hooked up with that long lost love again? Would you still have that same hot chemistry as you did in your younger days? Unfortunately, this story seemed to stall at the quickie wedding. From then on, Fliss’ attempts to keep her sister from consummating the marriage weren’t funny. They were cringe-worthy and, as someone who has spent hours laughing over Kinsella’s other novels, I had a hard time even finishing this novel. I kept reading hoping that the awkwardness and unfunny moments would come to some sort of conclusion.

The characters started out with a lot of potential. Both sisters are strong career women, dealing with all the quirks life has thrown at them.Lottie deals with life’s curve balls by making what Fliss calls her ‘unfortunate choices.’ I think Fliss needed to acknowledge her own unfortunate choices. Instead, she thinks she’s in the right every time she messes with her sister on her honeymoon. Along the way, she meets an acerbic, mysterious sort of man who may or may not be her romantic interest but either way, I found I didn’t really care. I grew tired of the antics of both sisters, serious and slightly hypocritical Fliss, and flighty and foolish Lottie. In the end, the novel wrapped up to a satisfying ending, somewhat redeeming each character. Overall though, it wasn’t my favorite of Sophie Kinsella’s novels.

TLD, on the other hand, was sweet, laugh-out-loud funny, with no awkward moments to make me cringe. Ruby was an endearing, fun character from the beginning and maybe the fact that she was a writer struggling to write that made me feel I could relate to her more. Her journey started as a normal premise. Getting away from it all to an exotic place with a beloved sister.

She started to let go and relax but how much of India did she experience in the resort in Goa? Not much, as she realizes when Amy confesses to her elopement. Ruby starts off across the country, alone, not knowing the language, very few of the customs and dangers, and somehow figures things out along the way. It doesn’t hurt that she meets Jack, a know-it-all American who keeps his reasons for traveling through India to himself.

Ruby loses her passport, suitcase and all her money and Jack becomes her knight in shining armor, after a hilarious, embarrassing rant about all the things wrong in Ruby’s life. His interest in her starts as pity, I imagine, but grows into something more. Along the way, Ruby gets closer to ‘rescuing’ her sister and ends up learning more about herself. She truly starts to experience the Indian culture and cuisine and surprises even herself with her capacity to adapt.

By the time I got to the end, I hadn’t realized how caught up I’d been in the story. Potter’s stories always feature a hint of magic, a feeling of something wondrous sweeping the characters along without seeming too unreal. Overall, this was a great, fun read with lovable characters and a romantic setting that makes me want to rescue a sister from herself. If I had one. ;)

Like I said at the start, it’s not often that I read two such similar stories at the same time.  I didn’t set out to, it just turned out that the two books I was anticipating happened to be these two. I thought it was a good opportunity to write a new review, something I haven’t done in a while, since the end of my on-line book club.

While disappointed in Kinsella’s novel, I won’t stop reading her books. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, including the Shopaholic novels. However, the one that I always return to, is called Can You Keep A Secret? Also, one of her more recent ones, I’ve Got Your Number was witty, clever and filled with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

Alexandra Potter isn’t as well known here as Kinsella, and her books are harder to find but I’ve enjoyed every single one of hers that I’ve read. They’re all stand-alone novels with a hint of romance and fantasy in each one. It would be hard to pick a favorite, and I fell in love with TLD immediately after reading it. However, I’d also recommend Be Careful What You Wish For and Who’s That Girl?

I hope whatever you’re reading today or this week is enjoyable. I’ve been reading more lately, perhaps procrastinating on working on my own novels. :)

Until next time, take care and happy reading.

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No Good-Byes

Everybody has a favorite author, right? You do, I know I do, and anyone who reads looks forward to a new release from their favorite more than any other. Have you ever wondered why the next release doesn’t come? Or if you stick mainly to perusing the websites like Literotica, what do you think happens when they stop posting anything new?

I was talking about it with my SO the other night, and we agreed that we do wonder sometimes. Sometimes, an author stops posting anything right in the middle of a multi-chapter story. Other times, their work is all complete, but they disappear. The same thing can happen with print publications.

I’d been reading an historical-mystery author, Ariana Franklin, for a few years and I even got my parents hooked on her novels as well. Each of her books could be read on their own, as they were a complete mystery, solved by the end, but they were part of a series featuring the same main characters. The last book she wrote, A Murderous Procession, was everything her other novels had been – exciting, full of vibrant characters and settings, and featuring dastardly villains – and she did something she’d never done before: she ended it on a whopper of a cliffhanger. Of course, after reading that, I checked the bookstores constantly for the new release, checked the websites for any info on a release date and did everything I’m sure many other fans have done when caught up in a wonderful series. However, I came across her biography page through the publisher one day and it stated that she’d passed away at age 77, not long after the release of that book. I was saddened to read that, and sorry for her family. At the same time, I was selfish in thinking that I’d never know how it all turned out in the end. I’m sure she didn’t intend to leave it so open-ended but that’s life, isn’t it?

I have another favorite author, Diana Wynne Jones, whom I’ve mentioned before on here. Her books are all pretty much stand-alone novels. I’ve been reading her since I was ten or eleven years old, as most of her titles are children’s or young adult. I still enjoy her novels at my age now, as they are so detailed and adventurous, you can’t help but love them. I was checking her biography one day a few years ago and saw that she also had passed away. So nothing new will be forthcoming, though thank God we have so many novels from these two women, as well as a multitude of other authors that we can enjoy again and again.

On Lit, things aren’t always so apparent. Unfortunately, the website is designed around being able to post, read and comment anonymously. Sure, you may know I’m MugsyB but you don’t know who I am. If I disappeared and stopped posting for a significant amount of time, you wouldn’t know if I’d stopped writing for free to pursue other avenues, or if I’d become ill or been injured. Or the worst. That has happened in the cases of a few authors I’ve read on there. I’m hoping that they’ve just moved on and are living their lives happy and well.

In that spirit, I wanted to post today to let everyone who might care know that I am still around. I am still writing though the bulk of my writing time is taken up by writing full-length novels that I hope to publish in the near future. I won’t stop posting periodically on my blog or on Lit but it’s certainly won’t be as frequent as it once was. Hopefully I don’t have to worry about the end of the tunnel for some time yet, so I’ll have plenty of time to decide what to do when that time comes.

Next time you read a favorite author, book or story on-line, take a moment to thank the writer for their efforts. I don’t mean send fan-mail necessarily, but understand the effort it takes to put a story together and to post it on-line or publish it. Some authors might know how much their novels are appreciated in the number of sales but writers on free forums like Literotica or Wattpad or anything alone those lines sometimes never know how well loved they are. So, if you have the time and the opportunity, let them know you enjoy their work and hope to see more. Let them know that their absence would be noticed and let them know that you’ll enjoy their work for years to come. That’s the beauty of what we do. Words stay behind.

Until next time, take care and happy reading!

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Publication News!

I’ve got some big news to share. Well, sort of big. Well… It’s big news to me. :)

Anyway, if you’ve been a reader of my work for some time, you may remember a little story called “Uncovering the Ice.” It featured a writer named Vanessa, and the hockey player, named Sean, who emails her after reading one of her stories on-line.

At one time, I had this story published as part of an anthology called “Melting the Ice”, along with two stories by Eve McFadden. I’ve reworked it a bit, returning a lot of my original material from before that publication, and polished it up to offer as a stand-alone book! It’s now available to buy at the Amazon Kindle store. You can visit the website here. For now, it’s only available on Kindle. I’m working on getting it ready for sale on Smashwords, Nook Books, Kobo and the iTunes bookstores, and I’ll let you know as soon as it becomes available there.

If you buy it, or even if you remember it from before, please consider taking the time to leave a comment on the Amazon page. Comments and reader feedback is what we indie authors rely on to push our stories. Also, if you’re hemming and hawing over buying it, maybe this will convince you: at the end is a sneak preview of a forthcoming sequel to “Uncovering the Ice.” ;)

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here’s the info:

cover page 2nd draft

Vanessa is a romance novelist but in her spare time, she indulges in her passion for hockey by penning hockey-themed erotica that she posts to an erotica website. When her hockey crush, Sean Bertrand, stumbles upon her stories and reacts negatively, she thinks he’s nothing but a crazy person. Their correspondence goes on and against the odds, they get to know each other, even like one another. But will the passion in Vanessa’s stories translate to real life or will the fantasy fall flat?

So now, I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your day, evening or whatever time of day you’re in. :)

Take care and happy reading!

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New Story! – “The Sin Bin”

Hello!

It has been some time but I promised to post when I had news to share. Well, I do! I’ve written and submitted a brand new, never-before-seen, hockey-related romance. I say hockey-related because it’s not focused on a particular player, thus the change in title structure. It’s not an ‘Ice’ story in the traditional sense. If there is a tradition. ;)

In any case, my new story, called ‘The Sin Bin’ is now available to read on Literotica. You can read the first chapter here. The next chapters will follow quickly, and hopefully it’s enough to tide you over until I have something more substantial to report.

There’s not much else happening with me. There seems to be a lot going on with the loved ones in my life and I’m spending my time just trying to be there for them. It’s tough to watch anyone you love going through a tough time and I only hope I can be as supportive as they have been with me when my life was in shambles.

I hope this post finds you all well, and enjoying the fresh spring weather – nearly summer now! WTF happened to spring!! – and maybe getting active after what was – for many – a terrible winter.

As always, take care and happy reading! :)

 

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Busy Writing

I’ve been neglecting this blog something fierce lately. I know. I have no excuse except that almost from the time I last wrote on here, I have been spending all my spare time – when I have the energy – writing. It’s something brand new, and in a whole new genre for me. It’s not half done, and I’m sure it will need extensive editing and work when I’m done, as all my work does, but I’m extremely happy with it so far. I’m having so much fun writing it if only for the simple fact that it’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything worth mentioning.

I am still occasionally working on editing some older manuscripts but whenever I feel the urge, I’ve been focusing on this new story. I don’t know how many more weeks it’ll be until I finish it but if I keep going at the same rate, it’ll be soon!

In other news… Well, I don’t have any other news. I’ve been binge-watching a few shows, reading a lot of books and writing, as I already mentioned! Speaking of shows, who else was totally pumped for the return of Game of Thrones??? I let out a huge sigh of relief last Sunday and I don’t care how much of a nerd that makes me sound like. :)

I hope everyone out there is happy and well and enjoying the turn of the seasons. I love my quirky little part of the world. It was a glorious spring day yesterday with loads of sunshine and warm weather. Then this morning… it snowed. ;) Of course, the temperature rose with the sun and there’s no trace of this morning’s snow now but still, it was a wonderful sudden change that is so typical of this area.

And on that note, I’m going to go. I hope you’re all well and don’t give up on me yet! I’m still around, still writing and still intend to post on occasion when I have something to share.

Take care and happy reading.

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February News

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything on here. Not that I have anything new to share with you, but I thought I could at least touch base.

Most of my spare time these days is spent writing. Or trying to, anyway. I’m trying to edit the fourth book in my TAITS series. I’m trying to edit “Uncovering the Ice” and get that out there and available for sale again, since a lot of people seem to be asking about it. I’m also trying to write new, never before posted or published stories. Between work and other life drama, I’m not accomplishing much of anything, unfortunately.

It’s not that I’m blocked. I am almost overwhelmed with choices and ideas and it’s almost too much to just pick one and settle on that for a while. I’ve been trying to focus more on Sean and Vanessa’s story but you all know how much I enjoy editing and revision. *sigh*

I keep thinking of that wonderful time a few years back when I had nothing else to do all day but write and write and write. It wasn’t necessarily a good time, since I was unemployed for about 7 months, but it was wonderful because I was able to fall into my ideal routine of getting up, eating breakfast, making coffee and sitting down to write. And I wrote a lot! I finished several “Ice” stories in that time, finished my first book for publication (“Agent Alpha” – which is incidentally available for sale still on Amazon Kindle. :) ) and loved what I did every day.

That’s not to say I’m miserable doing what I do now but working a great job with great people just doesn’t compare with doing what I love. I’m sure there are many out there who would agree. ;)

That being said, I am still writing. I occasionally get emails asking if I’m still around and still writing and please, when can I publish/post/share something new. Believe me, I am craving the feedback more than you’re craving the reading! Rest assured, I will notify the world (and by the world, I mean my dozens of faithful readers!).

In other news, who is loving this season of hockey??? It’s been so exciting for the teams in the west. Except for my Flames, but I still love them. Bless their hearts for trying so hard, every game, and I’m always behind them! But, in spite of them being mortal enemies, I can’t not give a shout out to that Edmonton Oilers goalie, Ben Scrivens, who stopped 59 freaking shots by the San Jose Sharks. Yeah!! 59 shots on goal. Absolutely unheard of. I don’t think there’s a hockey fan alive out there who wouldn’t tip their hats at that. Way to go, Ben, and I hope you give your fans many more incredible games to remember.

All right. Nothing else going on to report. I hope you’re all having a nice weekend. If you were stuck in some of that crazy southern winter storm, I hope you recovered safely and weren’t too put out by it.

Take care and happy reading.

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It’s 2014!

Welcome to a brand new year. OK. So I’m a little late for the Happy New Years but whatever. Better late than never… ;)

My December was rather hectic and busy and so far this week hasn’t felt slow. :) I bet most people’s Decembers are on the busy side. Holiday parties, family and friend get-togethers, and shopping. Mine was much the same. Throw in a journey that involved a nearly missed flight connection and a missing suitcase, and then you get my holiday. It wasn’t too terrible, just tiring.

My Christmas was low-key. I slept in late that morning and lazed around in pajamas most of the day along with my guy and his family. New Years was about the same, except with sparkling grape juice at midnight. And then, before I knew it, the holidays were over and I was back at work.

I’m sure it was the same for a lot of other people. I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep and chores this week, with very little downtime in between. It’s all right though. I did manage a wee bit of writing this week, so it wasn’t a total loss. I think now that 2013 is done, I’ll start to feel like my old self again and maybe write even more!

I just wanted to write a quick little note to say hi and welcome to 2014. :) I hope everyone had a good 2013, or at least, a less troubled year than I did.

Happy New Year! Take care and happy reading.

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