I hope the holiday season had been kind to you; you’ve had a great time, and so far 2014 is proving a great year (and it carries on improving).
Unexpected circumstances have meant that I haven’t had a chance to spend the last few weeks as I expected, and I’m been doing a fair amount of waiting. As I never go anywhere without a book, be my e-book (yes, a Kindle), or a paper book, that means that I’ve managed to catch up on a bit of reading and I’ve done some reviews.
I thought it would be good to share my reading and my reviews with you. First, because I really enjoyed the two novels, one by Jessica Kong (I knew her work and she did not disappoint), and the other one by Christine Nolfi, that proved the perfect read for the season (and for my personal, not terribly cheery, circumstances). Second, because both are romances, Kong’s novel with a touch of sci-fiction and some erotica, Nolfi’s exploring second chances and life-changes (something very close to my heart at the moment), on the surface miles apart from each other, but sharing a warm heart and heroic (if in very different circumstances) characters.
Without further ado, I leave you with the reviews, and links:
A Forgotten Kitten: 2 by Jessica A. Kong. Wars, empires and heroines like you’ve never seen them before.
I read the first novel in the Sea-anan Saga (A Lost Kitten) a few months ago and enjoyed the many universes with alien life forms and fascinating creatures, political alliances, wars and fights. More than anything I enjoyed the original romance at the centre of the book, where love conquered all, even extreme differences in species and customs. I follow the author, Jessica A. Kong, in Goodreads and remember telling her that I was looking forward to reading more about the rest of the family of the main character, in particular Areo, who was not only a woman, the empress and ruler of her people, but also the best fighter and leader. And I must say this novel does not disappoint.
In A Forgotten Kitten, we follow Areo, who is rescued from the grip of death by the actions of Sev, her soulmate, whom she thought lost forever. Unfortunately, although she recovers fully, Sev has lost his memory for most of his past, and cannot understand why he feels such affinity with her, especially as she is not a pure blood. Through this novel we get to learn more about the distinct worlds of the Oceanans, their politics, their enemies, but also their laws and prejudices. Again at the centre of the novel is another story of love conquering all. Both Sev and Areo are trapped between their duties as rulers of their peoples, and their true love. Their hearts tell them they should be together, but tradition and laws conspire to keep them apart. If these matters were not complicated enough, their romance has as setting a time of political unrest and turmoil, where their whole civilisation is at risk.
I’m not going to discuss the ending of the novel, but let’s say there are action scenes and fights that would look fabulous in any movie, heroes and heroines with special powers and skills who face terrible fates and fight for freedom, magical weapons, politics, and passion. There is also sex in the novel that illustrates the unbreakable bond between Areo and Sev, who are made for each other in all aspects. The author is skilful in creating wonderful worlds with creatures that are completely alien to us, whilst at the same time making their emotions and feelings (although epic in scale) completely understandable. Who would not wish for a love story like Sev and Areo’s in our everyday lives? Thank to the author we can share in the adventures and emotions, and hopefully there is much more to come yet.
The deeper I get into the story, the more I want to know about the background, the world, and particularly the extraordinary McCalls. If you fancy a good love story and a break from your everyday world, I recommend you read this book. One word of warning, if you start reading the saga you’ll have to carry on. Don’t say I didn’t tell you!
Second Chance Grill (Book Two Liberty Series) by Christine Nolfi
I read about ‘Second Chance Grill’ in Goodreads, and being a doctor (a psychiatrist) thinking about having a break from my career and doing something completely different, the plot appealed to me from the beginning. I had not read the first novel in the series ‘Treasure Me’, but must say that although I’ve read the extract at the end of the novel, ‘Second Chance Grill’ stands alone and it seems that one could start reading at any point in the series.
The story in the ‘Second Chance Grill’ is that of Mary, a doctor who’s lost her best friend, Sadie, recently, and has a history of loses (lost her parents and was informally adopted by the parents of her friend Sadie, who also studied Medicine with her). The two girls had very similar backgrounds and they were planning on taking over the running of the free clinic that Sadie’s father had in Cincinnati. Her friend’s death and her aunt’s leaving her a restaurant in Liberty, Ohio, combined to change what she thought was her well-worked out future. Her initial plan is to stay there until she can turn the restaurant into a feasible business and then return to manage the clinic. As you will suspect, things don’t go quite as planned, and Mary experiences it all, from staff’s difficulties, problems trying to obtain health coverage for her employees (a very current topic in the US that become even more pressing towards the end of the novel), bad-press, jealousy, and… love. She is chosen, from very early on, as an ideal substitute mother by Blossom, a charming teenager with health problems, and the girl’s father, Anthony (a very attractive and fit Italian-American garage-owner and Mr Fix-It) makes her wish the girl’s fantasies become true. Mary is pulled between her wish to stay in Liberty and have a new family and what she feels is her duty towards the family who took her into their fold and nurtured her interest and skills in Medicine. It is a difficult decision
The author manages to combine smiles, pathos, sadness and laughter in her novel to make the reader feel satisfied. I’d like to say that life is a balance of sad and happy moments, but that is not true. As we know, sometimes everything seems to go wrong and at others everything is going so well that we worry it cannot possibly last. Some people seem very lucky and others get more than their fair share of bad luck. Sometimes it is the attitude and the spirit of the people that can put a spin on events. Ms Nolfi, like all good authors, knows that sad moments can enhance the happy ones, as too much sugar can make us all sick. I enjoyed the novel. It is easy to read, the main characters are well-drawn, believable and I, for one, would like them as friends. The secondary characters help to bring Liberty, the town, that is an important character in its own right (and I understand why it provides the name for the series) to life. They are also detailed enough to make the readers feel they know them, and I bet they’d be scene stealers in any movie (I’d love to see Theodora in the flesh and her driving skills put to the test!) It reminded me of Nicholas Sparks and of some bittersweet films one watches, that can make you cry throughout, but eventually you leave with a smile on your face and feeling all the better for it (one of my favourite’s the Italian movie ‘The Son’s Room’ by writer-director Nanni Moretti).
If you don’t enjoy romance, you expect flashy action or heavy erotic scenes; this is not your novel. If you want to cry, laugh, and finish your read with a warm feeling in your heart, go ahead and read ‘Second Chance Grill’. After reading the first chapter of ‘Treasure Me’ I very much suspect I’ll be back for a second helping of the Liberty Series and will continue to explore Ms. Nolfi’s career looking forward to more tears and plenty of smiles.
Thanks so much for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have, please like, comment, share, and don’t forget to CLICK! And Happy 2014!