The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff

The last Embrace

All roads lead back to Addie’s past and the way she was separated from her own family. Her inability to focus her affections on one person, her indecisiveness, and not being able to see beyond her rose-tinted glasses. As a reader I found myself feeling sympathy for Addie, but also being annoyed at her thoughtless decisions and often devil-may-care attitude towards everything.

Saying that, the story takes place over the period of a few years and everyone involved is quite young, which explains the dramatic changes of heart and flighty behaviour.

Like many displaced families and people during war-time, Addie finds herself isolated and feeling as if she doesn’t really belong. It isn’t actually until well into the end of the story that she comprehends how much she loves her aunt and uncle, and how lucky she is compared to others in similar situations. Children, teens, young adults ripped from the warmth and security of their homes and family, not knowing that goodbye for now usually meant forever.

Addie encounters Charlie and his perfect family life at exactly the right time. She becomes enamoured with the thought of being part of their family, and some of them become enamoured with her.

Once again Jenoff shows the complexity of family dynamics in the midst of war-time and emotional fallout from tragedies within families.

Buy The Last Embrace at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @PamJenoff  @HarlequinBooks on Twitter, on Facebook PamJenoffauthor, or visit pamjenoff.com

Read The Orphan’s Tale or The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

Blog Tour & Review: The Thirty List by Eva Woods

Let’s start this Blog Tour for The Thirty List by Eva Woods off with a bang. To follow the tour and read what my fellow bloggers are saying about The Thirty List read Blog Tour -Thirty List to follow the links to each blog on the tour.

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About the author:
Eva Woods/Claire McGowan is a writer and a lecturer. She writes contemporary women’s fiction as Eva Woods and crime fiction as Claire McGowan. She was born in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing. According to her blog she also spends a lot of time tutting at slow people on escalators and dodging urban foxes. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.. To read more about Claire visit ink-stains.co.uk, visit her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter @inkstainsclaire.

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About The Thirty List:
Everyone has one.
That list.
The things you were supposed to do before you turn thirty.

Jobless, broke and getting a divorce, Rachel isn’t exactly living up to her own expectations. And moving into grumpy single dad Patrick’s box room is just the soggy icing on top of her dreaded thirtieth birthday cake.

Eternal list-maker Rachel has a plan – an all new set of challenges to help her get over her divorce and out into the world again – from tango dancing to sushi making to stand-up comedy.

But as Patrick helps her cross off each task, Rachel faces something even harder; learning to live – and love – without a checklist.

Review:

Welcome to the disaster called Rachel’s supposedly perfect life, well at least it used to be.From the very beginning it seems as if Rachel has made hasty decisions or at least ones made in doubt. She has built an image of a perfect relationship in her head and lives it outwardly for society. To be quite frank she needed to buck up and stop being the perpetual doormat for the people around her.

Instead she goes when she is asked to leave, she gives up house and home, because hey Dan asked her to. I mean come on, really? No spunk, no fight and no disagreement at all? Instead she has let herself be boxed into this pseudo cupboard of imaginary blame and remorse by her husband and her friends. It isn’t as if she did an entire football team in the locker room. Keep it real.

So her friends suggestion of a Bucket List is exactly the right thing to get her out of the slump she has slithered into. A list full of eccentric, exotic, daring and funny challenges or tasks to complete. Things to do before you… You get the picture and might even have one yourself, I know I do.

She embarks on her tasks with her new landlord, father of one, Patrick. They have slumps in common, and that isn’t all they have in common. Rachel quickly becomes part of the family, and as part-time nanny she also becomes close to Patrick’s son.

Being a step-parent or parent substitute is probably one of the hardest jobs in a patchwork family. Faced with the same responsibilities and yet when it comes down to the nitty gritty you are always only the stand-in for the real parent. Rachel cares for and looks after Alex, as if she were his mother, and yet in the direst of situations she is treated like a convenient servant. There is no empathy for her or her emotions. No comprehension of the bond she has built with the young boy. Even in that regard I found Patrick to be very lacking in compassion towards her.

I was slightly taken aback by the way Patrick reacted towards the end of the story. How very condescending of him to reach out to the ex and offer Rachel up on a pathetic platter. Sort of ‘can you come and pick up your second-hand goods now.’ I would have been angry if I were Rachel, I was certainly annoyed on her behalf.

The Thirty List is a tale of romance, the threading together of new families, questioning of relationships and about Rachel’s discovery of self. An amusing and also painful journey, but certainly one worth reading.

Thank you to Mills & Boon and Harlequin UK for the copy of The Thirty List.

Buy The Thirty List at Amazon UK or Goodreads for other shop links.

Blog Tour ‘The Doris Day Vintage Film Club by Fiona Harper April 20th – 26th

Looking forward to the blog tour this week. I will be featuring a Q & A with Fiona Harper and talking about her new book The Doris Day Vintage Film Club

doris1Kicking off the tour on

Monday the 20th is readinginthesunshine.wordpress.com

Tuesday the 21st is erins-choice.blogspot.co.uk

Wednesday the 22nd on shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk

Thursday the 23rd on fabulousbookfiend.blogspot.co.uk

Friday the 24th right here at CherylM-M’s Book Blog

Saturday the 25th at bookaddictshaun.co.uk and also on bookishjottings.wordpress.com

and Sunday the 26th at lisatalksabout.com

Mills & Boon is also running a Pinterest competition #VintageFilmClub Pin it to Win it for The Doris Day Vintage Film Club, giving one reader the chance to win a Vintage makeover with stylists Lipstick & Curls for themselves and a friend.

I hope you manage to join myself and my fellow reviewers/ book-bloggers for a chat, review and questions about The Doris Day Vintage Film Club, and perhaps some of the Fiona’s answers in the Q&A’s will reveal equally interesting insights into the author.

All this is courtesy of Harlequin UK /Mills & Boon and of course Fiona Harper.

Breaking the Boss’s Rules by Nina Milne

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Hard to concentrate when you’re having hot and heavy dreams about your temporary boss. Quite an achievement to have a conversation with someone when you can’t help but imagine them naked. That is exactly the situation Imogen finds herself in. She can’t concentrate or look at him for that matter, which makes working together rather difficult.

They are thrown together by an eccentric client, who wants them to play house and honeymoon for a weekend to create the perfect getaway place for him. Of course that makes it much harder for Imogen and Joe to stay away from each other.

Joe and Imogen have a lot in common they just don’t realise it. Both have coloured pasts when it comes to relationships and neither of them have left those pasts behind them. Joe has an ex who still holds a flame, despite inviting him to her pending marriage. Imogen has been dumped in such a painful, public and embarrassing way, she is still trying to get over it.

They both have to climb over the misunderstandings and misconceptions of the past to be able to create a future together. It  can’t just be hot and heavy make-out sessions,well maybe it can.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

The Million-Dollar Question by Kimberly Lang

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I have to say I was a wee bit annoyed by Evan and his dramatic overreaction after finding out about the real reason Olivia contacted him. Accusing her more or less of being a prostitute, willing to sleep with a wealthy man to get what she wants. Seriously? What kind of automatic insulting thought process is that?

Olivia realises it is a bad idea about five minutes after she meets up with Evan. Too much history, bad feeling and way too much mutual sexual attraction. Evan is hard to resist, despite his over-confident attitude. Olivia really finds it hard to concentrate on saying no, which is kind of difficult when such utter hotness is being dangled in front of her eyes. A cupcake with great dress sense.

Perhaps if they hadn’t been kept apart by the inevitable big brother with control issues, the two of them  might have been able to sort out their differences sooner. Instead they start a strange cat and mouse game of attraction and denial. Saying that, they do spend quite a bit of time playing the game and doing the horizontal tango.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

An Offer She Can’t Refuse by Shoma Narayanan

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What starts with a simple job interview, ends with a complicated friends with benefits scenario. Mallika and Darius slip slowly and surely into a relationship, which they both refuse to define as a relationship of any kind.

Mallika is coping with the fact her brother is suffering from agoraphobia, induced by the traumatic and tragic death of their parents.  She has become his parent and carer all rolled into one. Having to more or less babysit him 24/7, despite the fact he is an adult, has a negative impact or her work and her dating life.

Darius accepts all that and more, in fact he is very patient with Mallika. In return she sort of treats him with disdain, because she assumes he is not the family man she is looking for. They are both in for a surprise.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

 

Turning the Good Girl Bad by Avril Tremayne

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Tremayne has attempted to throw the spotlight on quite a few serious issues in this short romance.  I think the playful fantasy role-playing, in regards to the infamous book featured in the story, doesn’t balance well with the serious intent.

Sexual harassment is still far too commonplace in our day and age. Both women and men find themselves victims of people, who believe they have the right to overstep intimate boundaries and personal space. Catherine has found herself in a situation like that, and the repercussions of the harassment still influence her daily life.

Catherine pretends to be something she isn’t, a buttoned up and straight-laced prim woman. She hides the fun-loving fashionista behind dull clothes and a bland exterior. Why? Because she believes, and was told by her abuser that she brought it all upon herself for looking too good. Her fault because she dressed in a way that provoked him to attack her.

Of course this is the part of the story where one needs to step lightly. To make sure no victim blaming or shaming occurs in any way shape or form. The character of Catherine leans towards that representation, which isn’t pleasant, but perhaps a true representation of how society makes people in these situations feel, especially women and girls.

Max helps Catherine to move beyond the fear and the misconceptions she has about herself and the men around her. He understands that she needs to heal before the two of them can be together.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

Your Bed or Mine by Joss Wood

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Matt understands instinctively how Tori hides her real feelings from her friends. She plays the clown to deflect from her inner pain and torment. He also sees through her bravado to the core of her insecurities. The self-doubt and lack of character judgement when it comes to picking out the men in her life.

Tori tends to pick the rogues, the bad boys and the borderline abusive boyfriends. She puts up with the betrayals, the embarrassment and the odd requests or fetishes that cross her personal boundaries. She lacks self-esteem and suffers from the misconception that sex equals love.

Unfortunately many young people, especially girls, find it hard to distinguish between the two. Far too often love and sex are put on the same pedestal and mistaken for the same thing. Hearts are broken because what is a purely sexual relationship to one half of a couple might be a starry-eyed romance and declaration of love to another.

Matt needs to make Tori wake up and smell the roses in regards to her dysfunctional relationship patterns. Only then will he allow the two of them to get closer. In the meantime Tori is playing hard to get, then come and get me, and confusing the hell out of both of them.

Wood has slid some interesting sub-topics into this wee romance.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

The Party Starts at Midnight by Lucy King

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The problem with rules is that they are made to be broken, especially the ‘whatever you do don’t touch the really hot naked guy, who just happens to be in a very deep sleep’ rules. Those type of rules always depend on the situation and the irresistibility of the guy in question.

Leo awakes from his slumber to find Abby in his bedroom eyeing up his crown jewels, and thus begins the comedy of errors between the two of them.

This romance is about letting walls down and emotions in. Leo is the perfect example of someone who has been burned so badly in the past he doesn’t want to ever let another person in.  Abby is the type of person, who chips away at cold walls of emotions without even realising she is doing it. Under her cucumber business exterior lurks the interior of a hot pepper.

Leo and Abby connect, clash and lead each other on a merry chase of emotions in this hot to trot little romance.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

Breaking the Bro Code by Stefanie London

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Elise is struggling to keep her dance studio afloat. At this point she needs a miracle to keep things going. She just wasn’t expecting a miracle in the shape of Col Hillam. The same Col, who used to be part of her family and the same person who dumped her like a hot potato many years ago.

Col still struggles with the neglect and abuse he suffered as a child. He is home to bury the person who will always be at the root of his fears and problems. One of those fears is something he needs to overcome quick snap, which is why he has returned to ask Elise for help.

The two of them have to overcome a mountain of obstacles to rekindle their fledgling romance, including clearing up the real reason Col left in the first place. The secret he kept from Elise because he didn’t want to break her heart and destroy the relationship between her and someone close to both of them.

This romance is about trust, family and coming back home to the one person, who makes you feel safe and complete.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.