Book Review: Eight Goodbyes, Christine Brae

synopsis single

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined. 

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

 


My Thoughts 2

**ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

`Eight Goodbyes` by author Christine Brae is a heartstrings tugging romance that will push all the right emotional buttons… Or, at least I hope that happens for readers when they pick this read.

Sadly enough, I have mixed feelings regarding this romance. I´m not totally against this book but I´m also not able to lay my heart on the table and profess my undying love for `Eight Goodbyes`Eight Goodbyes

Let me explain why.

The cover and book title caught my attention. The synopsis then sealed the deal for me. Everything seemed interesting and I was hopeful that I had found a new author to add to my ever-growing list of favorite writers.

With that being said- My excitement wasn´t long lasting. To express my mixed feelings a little better let be start off with mentioning what I fully appreciated about this book.

The writing.

The author has the ability to grab a reader´s attention with her words. A nice soft, feminine writing that´s perfect for an emotional read. Loved it.

Unfortunately, the writing , alone,doesn´t cut it for me.

While the synopsis sounded interesting, the story itself wasn´t as gripping. `Eight Goodbyes`. Yes. Somewhere deep down I understood this book was about saying goodbye 8 times. No surprises there. What I didn´t know was how annoying the goodbyes would be for me.

Tessa Tamlan, famous fiction author, lives the dream.

Here is where I felt a strong case of „The protagonist is the author´s self- insert“.

While most of us readers tend to believe being an author is all fun and games, Christine Brae gives us a little insight on how that´s not true through the eyes of Tessa Tamlan. In fact- The detailed mention of how exhausting and time-consuming an author´s life is feels a little too realistic.

This is pure speculation on my part but sometimes a reader can tell if there´s a self – insert. I felt it and I didn´t like it.

Nonetheless- Tessa´s character rubbed me the wrong way on many levels. She came across as arrogant, self-centered, aloof and superficial. A stark contrast to the Hero, Simon Fremont., who I enjoyed to bits.

As for the romance in the story – I had difficulties warming up to Tessa and Simon, as a couple. It took 5 chapters to lose all sympathy for the off-putting Tessa and 5 chapters to see that Simon deserved someone better. So, all the romantic feels I was supposed to feel were non-existent for me because I couldn´t connect with the Hero and Heroine.

Another aspect that made me raise my eyebrows: Tessa liked to mention how intelligent Simon and herself were. It´s a compliment when it´s mentioned once. It´s weird when it´s mentioned more than once.

The `good-byes` frustrated me. The Heroine was unlikable. The story wasn´t my cup of tea. Still…..

Would I recommend this book? For readers who rely on my opinion- No.

Would I reread this book? No.


The cover – 5 stars ( I´m usually not a fan of character images on covers but I did like this one.)

The Story – 2 stars ( The idea is great. The way the story panned out- Not so great )

The Characters – 2 ( Tessa did not work for me. Simon felt like the better character )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Frustrated.

2 stars

Book Title: Eight Goodbyes

Author: Christine Brae

Genre: contemporary romance

Release date: 1. Sept. 2018

EDITION
ISBN
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Book Review: The Birthday list – Devney Perry

synopsis 2

Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.

Widow.

Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?


My Thoughts 2

Beautiful.

Have a seat because this might become a shocker to some romance lovers:

`The Birthday List` by Devney Perry is a romance that´s not tacky. The book doesn´t even have the typical drama we´re usually presented in today´s romance novels. `The Birthday list` is NOT one of those reads. This book is so much more but on a deeper emotional level.

This book is a piece of beautiful romance that´s about love, loss and moving forward.

The birthday list

 

There´s emotional turnmoil. And that, my dear Padawans, works out wonderfully for this story. The main focus is on Poppy, her happiness and her unknown future.

A slow burn romance with heartstring tugging moments.

I think what I loved most about this story was how easily it felt to sympathize for Poppy ( Heroine ). You start out with falling for her and her relationship with her husband then the next minute you´re falling apart with her, mourning the loss of her wonderful love. It feels genuine and realistic. And heartbreakingly realistic. It´s easy to see and accept her life choices after her husband´s death, even though Poppy didn´t do anything dramatic per se… It was the way she dealt with the loss that made me fight some unwanted lumps in my throat. To be apart of her world and living through her pain and coping methods was simply great.

If Cole ( Hero ) were real I´m sure he´d create a new world record on having the most marriage proposals. Let´s just ignore the fact that he´s good looking ( because, aren´t they always? ) and concentrate on Cole as a character. He´s a kind, caring, gentle and understanding bundle of perfection wearing a uniform. That´s enough to melt hearts. And the way he treats Poppy and deals with her situation is just… Heartwarming. He makes it clear that Poppy does not have to suffer alone, or suffer at all. And in the process- he falls for her.

“I’ll take whatever you’ll give me.”

So many lines in this book that caused my emotional undoing. Did I survive this great read? I did. And I´m glad for it, too, because I don´t think my heart would have survived any more pages.

 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. `The Birthday List` is a great romance. Simple. Cute. Lovable.

Would I reread this book? I´m not sure. I don´t deliberately seak out books with sad- ish themes. Since this was a mood read for me I´d say that I´d reread it when the sniffle mood ever strikes again.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Exactly what I like. It doesn´t state the obvious. No character image. Two thumbs up.)

The Story – 4 stars ( The story is nothing new but it does have unique aspects to it, which I fully enjoyed. )

The Characters – 4 stars ( While I liked both, Hero & Heroine, I thought Cole was a little too perfect. I would have liked for more flaws regarding his character.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Fully satisfied and beyond happy I picked this book up.

4 stars

Book Purchase Link- Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review- Belle: A Retelling Of Beauty And The Beast by Cameron Dokey

synopsis 2

Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters’ awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one’s true love. 

During a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood — and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Charming. Enchanting. Easy for the mind. 

 

It was the beautiful cover that got me interested in this book. That, and the fact that I was on vacation and didn´t really want to read a book with 350+ pages. Instead, I picked this 204 page novel with the stunning cover.

As for the story….

Belle` by author Cameron Dokey is a simple and uncomplicated retelling of `Beauty And The Beast`. There´s nothing heavy or highly emotional about this retell. Belle

I would guess that adding overly dramatic scenes would have demanded more pages… so it´s no surprise that this book wasn´t the full-blown romance we´ve all come to love.

While the story was good ( as one would expect it to be. It´s Belle and the Beast! ) it still differed from the versions we have branded into our brains.

Belle´s life is different. The whole story has been worked on, giving us readers an altered Belle with 2 living parents and kind siblings.

The added family theme was a nice change of wallpaper. The details were ( to a certain point ) perfect. All was okay about this retelling version except for the subtle / not so subtle issues.

I´m a fan of details. In `Belle` I received a well-balanced flow of character development and details, which I fully appreciated. As I enjoyed the great story-build-up I also felt the amount of pages I had left to read. A little spooky when knowing there´s actually SO MUCH MORE to the story. I was a little over 100 pages in to the book and I was still reading about everything except for the Beast.

But I had faith. The book might be only 204 pages thin but there was still enough room to add the Hero. And that´s where I began to be bothered. The Hero is usually introduced after the first few pages, if not, then surely after the second chapter. From the point where Hero and Heroine meet there´s some sort of connection development from there on. In `Belle`there was nothing of the sort.

And when Belle and Beasts golden moment arrived I was slightly disappointed. Because it wasn´t as drawn out as I had thought it would be. It was actually short-lived and questionable, to say the least.

Even the big end scene wasn´t drawn out, as it should have been. In fact- The moment of moments was cut short. Belle and her family received lots of limelight and the Beast received a few pages. Correct me if I´m wrong- Doesn´t it add to the dramatic scene when drama is included? Thoughts on this, anyone?

The author has one thing going for her: Her writing style. It´s simple but romantic. It´s colorful and soft. Actually fitting for fairy tales. I found myself falling for her words and enjoying the way she wields them in her story.

What´s missing is balance and pace. Those two aspects drove me bonkers while reading `Belle`.

This is a complicated review to write because on the one side I experienced wonderful characters and great details. Character development plays a huge role in books as it gives a story life. Crappy characters = crappy story ( no matter if it´s a retelling or not ).

But on the other hand, the imbalance and slow pace – turned – fast pace were confusing and made my reading experience odd.

Would I recommend this book? I would. But only if readers approach this read without expecting anything major.

Would I reread this book? Probably not. I´ll stick with the other versions I´ve read.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Stunning )

The Story – 3 stars ( It´s basically Beauty and the Beast fanfic. I appreciated some parts while I didn´t appreciate the technical sides )

The Characters – 4 stars ( I can´t stress this out enough: character development is everything. It´s what a reader gets in this read.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Meeh.

3 stars

This book is available on Amazon.com

 

Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Book Feature for `Belle` by Cameron Dokey

 

 

Mug Monday & New Books Talk

Mug Feature                                                                                                                                             IKEA – Black Mug

Book Topic & Book Feature                                                                                                                New Books & Belle by Cameron Dokey

 

Happy Mug Monday!

 

So, what has this little book blogger been up to since her last Mug Monday post? Ha! I´ve been procrastinating. Alright. Fine. If you want to know the truth- I´ve been physically lazy and mentally working overtime.

Ever since my short break I´ve had time to think. Of course, I´ve read a few books, too, but that´s secondary at the moment.

I´ve noticed a shift in my reading tastes. I´m not sure if this has something to do with the lack of good romances being published or if it´s just a phase. I cannot stomach another sappy love story.

Don´t get me wrong. I still love the romance genre. I also still make a beeline towards the women’s fiction aisle in a bookstore and I still search for new romance titles online in hopes for finding something good ( See? I´ve even lowered my book standards ).  But do I find anything worth reading? Not at the moment. It´s as if authors are bored with the genre and just publish romances for the heck of it. That´s probably not true. But give a girl a break. Book hunting is exhausting at the moment. Especially when it´s scorching 35°C ( 95°F ) outside.

 

So, this means a few things. I could:

a) Continue to tackle the TBR list

b) Wait for a miracle to happen

c) Move on

d) Visit Netgalley

e) Go on another creative break

f) Do garden work

g) Contact friends I promised I´d call… 2 months ago

 

I contacted the friends- I´m forgiven. I don´t need ANOTHER creative break. Garden work is the greatest punishment ever. My TBR list can kindly go to hell.  I cannot foresee any miracles happening soon so that leaves me with Netgalley.

Netgalley. It´s been a while since I last stepped foot on Book Catalogue Land. Well, it´s been exactly 14 hours ( before that, 3 years ). Since romance isn´t feeding my needs I decided to check out what´s available on Netgalley.

I was successful. Greedy and successful. SO MANY BOOKS. So many non romances. And now, I have loads of Netgalley reads, a giant TBR list and the books I got while on vacation.

 

Sometimes I really do believe I have fruit missing from my fruit bowl.

 

Well, at least I have books to read, right? My worries for the romance genre are currently put to rest for the time being. I´ll be occupied with mermaids and pirates, kingdoms and witches now.

 

Speaking of new books and reading… I just finished this beauty ( pun intended ).

belle

`Belle` ( A retelling of Beauty and the Beast ) by author Cameron Dokey. Did I love, like, enjoy or hate it? Well, I´ll tell you that I fell in love with the cover. The rest of my thoughts will be available in the upcoming review.

The mug is nothing special. Just your typical IKEA mug that probably won´t last long ( they never do in my house ). The cold chocolate milk topped with whipped cream was divine, though.

 

That´s it for this week, lovies. Now you know I´ve dug my own grave and will now endure a massive and glorious reading marathon.

Hope you enjoy your Monday!

Don´t forget to share the book ❤

Warm hugs,

Morgana <3<3

 

 

 

 

Religion In Romance Novels

This is a topic I´m not all too happy to write about because… Well, there are topics you just don´t discuss. Sadly though, I feel the need to get this off my chest.

Back in the day my first boss gave me some valuable piece of advice:

Never talk about religion, politics or money with a customer. Later in life I added the “raising kids” topic to that list because that´s also something people can easily argue over. A simple fact. I´ve lived by the “Never Discuss….” rule ever since.

 

After a happy shopping spree on Amazon I spotted a beautiful book cover with a great book title. When I saw the author´s name my excitement grew. Mia Sheridan.

more than words

One of my favorite romance authors published a new book! `More Than Words` was published June 12th! WOOP!

I didn´t hesitate with reading a few Amazon reviews. This one was what sealed the deal for me.

 

Wow. First off, I think the review was well constructed and perfectly written. The reviewer, despite her non religious beliefs, rated the book with  4.5 stars, whereas I….

… I wouldn´t have been so generous.

Some may see the review as a spoiler. I see the review as helpful.

I´m an atheist. A happy one, at that. I, too, respect and accept other people´s beliefs and would never judge them publicly for what they think exists or not just as I would never want people to judge me openly for not believing in God.

The reviewer is right: Some people think love and religion go hand in hand. I believe religion should stay far away from love and from romance novels. Unless you´re an author writing epic stories about badass vampires and demons who reveal just how twisted and corrupted the religious world is  (  Read Hedoschism by Lindsey Clarke on Wattpad  )… you shouldn´t really include religion in a romantic story.

Of course, there are many  subjects readers avoid, such as: adultery, erotica in general, rape, M/M, F/F, M/M/F, fetish, etc. But none are as controversial as religion.

I´m fully aware that authors will never reach everyone´s hearts with their writing, no matter what they write about or what topic they include. Opinions vary. Why shouldn´t authors be allowed to include religion in their romance novels, right?

Exactly.

But for me, the happy atheist who wants to read a new Mia Sheridan romance novel, it´s disappointing to find out there´s religion included. I won´t buy the book.

Yes. One single review had the ability to influence my book purchase. GOOD! That´s what reviews are for.

I´m actually grateful for the reviewer´s insight because if I had bought the book without knowing about the “issue” that bothered the reviewer I would have been a very unhappy book blogger.

Because I don´t believe in God. Because religion doesn´t make sense to me. Never has and never will.

Now, you´re probably asking what happens when I accidentally stumble upon a romance novel that has religion included.

Due to my lack of interest on the subject I immediately DNF a romance novel that has religious characters in it.

And I also bet you´re asking why I accept religion in paranormal / fantasy novels and not with romance novels?

The answer is simple: Fantasy or paranormal stories are basically modern-day fairy tales drawn out to extreme levels. There´s creativity in world building, character forming and storytelling. For me, God and the Bible fit perfectly in that niche.  It´s make – believe. It´s not real.

Whereas romance novels are set in realistic worlds and characters deal with realistic issues. God and the Bible do not fit in a world I can relate with.

I struggle to believe God and contemporary romance novels could ever go hand in hand.

I´ve probably offended many people with my opinion on the subject, even though I´ve tried my best not to discriminate religion or people who believe in God.

But just as religious people have the right to openly love and praise their God ( and those who do praise God do it rather loudly ), I am also allowed to do the unthinkable and state my opinion on how I think religion is nothing more than a waste of time. Seeing religion in romance novels does not sit well with me.

 

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you bothered by religion in romance novels? Do you even care if religion is included in any story? Are you delighted to see authors including religion in romance novels?

Do not hesitate to leave a comment. I´m ( thankfully ) one of those people who agree to disagree.

NOTE FOR OVERLY RELIGIOUS MEMBERS OF SOCIETY: I´m happy. Please do not tag me in any religious posts on social media and do not pray for me. If you feel the need to block / unfollow / unfriend me due to our religious differences then I will not stop you.