I’m so happy to share my review for Beautiful Façade Blog Tour! Let’s start…
Book Name: Beautiful Facade Author: Kathryn S Rose Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance Publication date: February 2nd 2021 Book Acquired: Xpresso Book Tours, ARC Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐
On the day that 16-year-old Winter Starling had her life and dreams shattered by a sexual assault, she meets Kai, a boy from her high school obsessed with music. They develop a deep friendship, which comes to an abrupt end when Kai unexpectedly has to leave. Winter has no idea why he went or any way to contact him. Ten years pass, and Winter has constructed a new reality for herself. Now living in Melbourne, she has a successful career in advertising and is engaged to Liam King, a star player in Australian Rules Football. Winter has a perfect life.
During a night out, Winter runs into Kai, now the lead singer of ‘The Stonevilles.’ Winter and Kai rekindle their friendship, and to everyone around them, their attraction is evident. With Kai back in her life, Winter’s past threatens to ruin her relationship with Liam and everything she has worked to achieve. But can she risk losing Kai a second time? Emotional and edgy, Beautiful Facade is about love, loss, healing, self-discovery, and the messy battle between one’s head and one’s heart.
The main thing that struck me in this book is the mention of sexual assault and the importance of mental health. Finding it in a romance book is very less, but the way Kathryn has woven the story in and around Winter’s life and mental health is something worth reading.
[TW: This books contains mentions of sexual assault]
From the start, we get to see the version Winter has used to shield herself from her past. This Winter is working fancy, lives fancy, behaves fancy and even has a fiancé that’s fancy. But this façade cracks when someone from Winter’s old life walks through that wall she had built up years ago.
I loved the tension that is between the two. It’s fresh and raw. It glued me to the book and had me anxious about the end. Second chances are hard to find, but Winter and Kai surely had luck in their favour.
A pleasant yet emotionally raw book about two people finding each other at the time it was least expected. Breaking down each other’s barriers and dealing with things that are too hard to bear. This book was as real as it could be. I loved every bit of it.
Kathryn S Rose is a mum, wife, reader, writer, traveller, and food enthusiast. Writing a book was always on her bucket list, and finally, with Beautiful Facade, it has come into fruition.
Kathryn is interested in the study of human behaviour and obtained a Bachelor of Social Science, with a focus on Community studies and Welfare Work.
Since completing her studies, she has worked in several jobs, which have enhanced her understanding of social issues, human development, relationships, and lifestyle. Some of these insights are reflected in her writing and give her inspiration.
Besides books, Kathryn has many other loves. She enjoys listening to live music, relaxing at the beach, embarking on random hiking adventures, and indulging in too much food and wine with family and friends. When Kathryn and her family aren’t traipsing around the world, they can be found residing in Perth, Western Australia.
I’m so happy to share my review for The Shape of Stars Unknown Blog Tour! Let’s start…
Book Name: The Shape of Stars Unknown (The Aldarfall Saga, #1) Author: Sybil Le Pyrmont Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy Publication date: October 15th 2020
World domination is the least of their problems.
A STRANDED DEMIGOD. Lau of the House of Feofar, troubled and headstrong, screwed up. Royally. Now he lives out his days in exile on Earth – the very planet he once tried to exterminate.
A RUDDERLESS MORTAL WOMAN. Silver Laing leads the ordinary life of a white-collar worker. Lonely and desperately in search of purpose and new horizons, she gets more than she bargained for when she is offered a mysterious job.
A CATACLYSMIC PLAN BILLIONS OF YEARS IN THE MAKING. When a deadly visitor from Lau’s shrouded past threatens to lay the world in ashes, Silver and Lau must form an unlikely alliance against ancient and far superior forces.
An alliance with the potential to shake the very foundation of the Universe.
Shimmering new worlds? Sizzling tension? Secrets as old as time? Splashes of humour?
If your answer to all of the above is ‘Hell, yeah!’ then The Shape of Stars Unknown is your guy. This first book in Sybil Le Pyrmont’s new urban fantasy adventure series, The Aldarfall Saga, will take you from Germany to Tibet, from Japan to Iceland and all the way to the other end of the Universe.
1) When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Truth be told, I can’t remember a time when I did not want to be a writer. Even before I read my first word, I stood wide-eyed before the novels at my local bookstore and wondered what magic skills were required to create such a little miracle and have it displayed on those shelves for the world to see. One of my greatest regrets is not having mustered the courage to try my hand at writing much, much earlier in life.
2) How long does it take you to write a book?
The rough draft of the complete Aldarfall Saga – at the time one single book of about 1,300 pages – took me seven months to complete. I then broke it into three parts, the first of which is now published as The Shape of Stars Unknown. Approximately eight years and countless revisions later, TSOSU has made it from rough draft to published book; I’m a reasonably fast writer, but my exasperating perfectionist streak makes me the slowest editor in the world (not to mention the day job, which gobbles up a substantial amount of time).
3) What do you think makes for a good story?
Disclaimer: this is my personal, highly subjective view. A good story needs to make me feel at home. It is a quality I find somewhat slippery to define, let alone explain. “At home” evokes visions of cosy mysteries or heartwarming Christmas stories with adorable puppies, right? Well, this is not at all what I mean, although I’ll gladly take the doggos off your hands.
Here are some examples of books that give me this particular homely feeling:
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco)
Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer)
It (Stephen King)
Oni (Marc Olden)
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Hannibal (Thomas Harris)
Hagen von Tronje (Wolfgang Hohlbein)
Not one of these books is snuggly-puppy pleasant to read. One of them even is non-fiction. But they all make me feel comfortable. I stepped into a welcoming world from the very first time I read the very first syllable. Sometimes it’s the characters (like in Hagen von Tronje), sometimes it’s the writing style (Dorian Gray, Shibumi, Into Thin Air), sometimes it’s the philosophy or worldview (Dorian Gray, Shibumi) that gives me this strange, homey sensation. In extremely rare cases, a story combines all three and thus knocks my socks off (here’s looking at you, Shibumi).
And what elevates a story from good to great is when it makes me feel intelligent. This is what Shibumi and The Name of the Rose do, for example. Shibumi is supposed to be read as a satire on the spy thriller, and there are dozens of innuendos and references that I caught only upon reading it several times. I still discover something new every time I pick it up, not to mention that it makes me think, learn … and google. The latter, by the way, has been taken to extremes by The Name of the Rose. Keep your search engine handy when you read that one!
In short, a good story gives me a literary home and a few additional brain cells.
4) If you could be one character from the book, who would you be and why?
Lau, my male protagonist. For all his faults – and he has many – he is a man of courage and extraordinary resilience. Certain events in his past have traumatised him deeply, but even though he has no active memory of them, he continues to fight these demons every day. He has lived for billions of years without losing his zest for life, and not only is he a free spirit, but he is an intellectual warrior. I would love to have just one ounce of his strength, mental and physical.
5) If you co-author a book with your favourite author, who would it be?
Definitely Trevanian. He was a cosmopolitan scholar with a brilliant, crystal-clear mind and a flair for wordplay, puns and fine irony. I have no idea what on earth I could have contributed to this co-authorship, but I would have learned the world from him. Oscar Wilde comes in a close second.
6) Your all-time favourite quotes.
“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” (Gloria Steinem)
Among the gazillions of quotes on writing, this is the one that rings most true for me. Whatever I’m doing, all I want is get back to my desk. Whenever I’m there, all may not always be right with the world, but I am where I feel I’m supposed to be.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” (Oscar Wilde)
“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” (Japanese proverb)
These two go in the same direction. People will criticise you no matter what and no matter how hard you try to please them. You might just as well be yourself – way less exhausting, way more satisfying.
7) Can we expect a sequel or a new novel soon?
Both sequels to The Shape of Stars Unknown are written … technically. Due to the revisions and changes I made to the first book over the past years, however, books II and III require massive rewrites. I’m working on them as we speak.
As for new novels, I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion. One is a darker urban fantasy, one could be deemed magical realism, and two of them dabble in the realm of mythology. As excited as I am about these drafts, the sequels to TSOSU take precedence at this time.
8) A few words for our readers.
The one thing I would like to say most of all is thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to (virtually) meet me and The Shape of Stars Unknown. We all have many worries right now – health, family, friends, jobs – which makes me all the more grateful for your time!
You, the readers, are the most fundamental element in a writer’s universe. Your words carry immense weight, whether in the guise of a book review or as a comment on social media. Although a thick skin may be part of a writer’s toolbox, your opinions and observations can make or break our day. Either way – wield that power whenever you can, dear readers! We love to hear from you!
If you’d like to get in touch, please drop me a line at email@example.com – or find me here:
Sybil Le Pyrmont was born in Germany and was raised on the Canary Islands (that Gallic name is a pseudonym – her actual name has as much flair as a tax return). Although she now resides in Frankfurt, Germany, her heart has been beating for Tokyo ever since she spent a year in that city and discovered her epic love for all things Japan. That includes, to her acute embarrassment, the Shinagawa train station jingle she has installed as her ringtone. When Sybil isn’t writing, or dreaming of the anonymous donor who will some day gift her a house in Japan, she splits her time between her airline day job and long rants about the sunshine and the always-too-hot weather.
Sybil writes urban fantasy adventure to whisk her readers away to realms of imagination that have a distinct possibility of existing somewhere in the depths of the Universe.
Visit spyrmont.com for more on Sybil and her writing.
I’m so happy to share my review for The Christmas Mistake Blog Tour! Let’s start…
Book Name: The Christmas Mistake Author: Josephine Templeton Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult Published by: GenZ Publishing Publication date: December 1st, 2020 Book Acquired: Xpresso Book Tour, ARC Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dressed in nothing but Christmas lingerie, Carina has a bellhop deliver her in a gift box to her fiancé’s hotel room, but the last thing she expects when she is unwrapped is to see a sexy stranger in holiday boxers who looks like he just stepped off a magazine cover – definitely NOT her fiancé! How in the silver bells was she delivered to the wrong room?
As the owner of a small flower shop, Carina’s surrounded by romance on a daily basis. Her workaholic fiancé has been distant for the past several months, so she decides to drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to surprise him on Christmas Eve. However, that distance between them has brought loneliness, and the mere thought of the sexy stranger plucks at her mistletoe. When she discovers the reason for her fiancé’s lack of attention, will she put him on Santa’s naughty list and take the stranger for a sleigh ride?
Imagine standing in front of a person you think you don’t know is nothing but Christmas lingerie. You can’t right? But this is the best scene of this book that gripped me from the start. I was intrigued with the synopsis as soon as I came across this blog tour and I knew I had to read it.
Carina is a little conservative and shy person who tries to break out of her shell to impress her boyfriend with a spontaneous plan, which, fails miserably! Or does it? Stepping out in lingerie in front of another man is only the first of her problems.
Standing there staring at this gorgeous woman is none another than old-time flam Conrad, who recognises Carina straightaway. To make the situation a bit funny, he keeps dropping hints here and there until Carina finally figures who the handsome figure in her fiancé’s supposed room was. Old flames die hard. Well, Carina and Rad’s flames are burning bright and orange. Their attraction to each other still sends tingly sensations up their spines respectively. But destiny has different plans and they keep missing each other until finally, they find each other.
The story is written in a diary format which gave me The Princess Diaries vibe and I immediately smiled and continued to read faster. (I’m not sure if that’s possible, but you get the point) The book was a completely new perspective to what I’ve been reading and I enjoyed it from start to finish.
The POV’s kept changing from Carina to Rad and vice versa, which as you all know, I love reading. It makes it so much easier to understand and connect with the book. In all, I loved this Christmassy-cheer and give it a full star rating!
Josephine Templeton has six published novels that range from historical romance to urban fantasy. She has been to numerous conferences, including Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans, as well as a former member of Romance Writers of America.
Book Name: Spirtwalker Author: Tanith Davenport Genre: Paranormal erotic romance Publisher: Totally Bound Date of Publication: 20 October 2020
Tagline: By night she walks with spirits. By day they turn her world upside down.
Tamar Steele, a successful medium for a paranormal investigative team, should be happy with her life—but life seems to be against her. Her psychic field is being mysteriously blocked, causing her physical pain and, worse, making it more and more difficult for her to come, creating stress in her relationship with long-term boyfriend Jason.
But then, during the filming of a paranormal TV show, Tamar picks up on Leslie, the recently murdered sister of her co-worker Hana—who later tells her the murderer was in the room with them. Knowing the best way to enhance her psychic ability is through sex, Tamar must rekindle her troubled relationship with Jason and rebuild their passion as she fights to solve the murder. Can she find the killer in time?
Book Name: Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York, #1) Author: Bella Di Corte Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense Publication Date: May 8th 2020 Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours Ratings: 4 stars!
I hungered to be seen.
There were three things I knew about Capo Macchiavello:
He was gorgeous. He was reclusive. He was considered one of New York’s most savage animals.
And he wanted me as his wife. A simple arrangement – you do for me, I do for you. Nothing owed, no expectations. Except for one: never leave.
Life was never that simple, though. By the age of twenty-one, I was parent-less, jobless, and homeless, and I had come to learn the hard way that nothing was ever free. Even kindness comes with strings.
Capo might’ve been the only man to ever see me, but I had made a vow to myself: I would never owe anyone anything. Most of all, the man I called boss.
I killed to stay hidden.
Mariposa Flores thought she owed nothing to no one, but she owed everything…to me, the ghost the world had once called The Machiavellian Prince of New York.
Machiavellian is the first of three books set in the savage world of the Gangsters of New York series.
It’s been a long time since I read a mafia book. The younger version of me enjoyed reading her fair share of Mafia books on Wattpad. But this is a different time.
I was captivated by the book in the start itself. The introduction of the characters is done remarkably. I connected with Mari instantly and sympathized with her situation. the step she takes to help her self is taken in desperate measures and seems weird in the start but I kind of warmed up to it by the end.
Capo’s persona is very strong and manly. That makes him very desirable and of course, he notices Mari when no one will. He wants to protect her at all costs. Instead of starting a relationship normally, Mari and Capo make a deal and I enjoyed watching their chemistry grow with each passing chapter.
Given the situation both Mari and Capo are in, we see the gentleness towards each other and the eagerness to learn about the other come alive. The short and sweet moments are not what you generally expect in a Mafia novel, but the author has done a great job at adding them in a way that flows perfectly.
Although, the book is a bit too long, I didn’t feel it as I was so intrigued by it. The lies, secrets, deception, action all make the book an even better read. I loved this book and would highly recommend!
Book Name: The Name of Red Author: Beena Khan Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance Publication date: May 15th, 2020 Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Two strangers on the same path.
They will be each other’s salvation.
On a rainy, winter night, a mysterious woman in a red dress seeking shelter comes inside the restaurant Kabir was busy working in —primarily the bar— and night after night, drink after drink, she comes back to the same spot. That is where he sees her for the first time.
Hundreds of patrons around her try to speak with her daily, but she dismisses them. It appears she wants to remain in a blissful peace alone with her booze and books. After seeing the mysterious woman reading a book, and because of his shy nature, Kabir gains entrance into her life by anonymously leaving books with notes for her.
The Name of Red is the story of two strangers, two different personalities who meet on a winter, rainy night who challenge each other. They have a connection which blossoms into a friendship due to their fondness of books. But they both have secrets that can bind them together or threaten their newfound relationship forever.
To be really honest, I felt really happy signing up for this blog tour as it’s written by a South Asian writer. Being a South Asian myself, I was super excited to read this book. I love the Asian names and the culture that the author has used. Something that is very relatable for me.
The beginning of the book had me intrigued from the moment I started reading. The entrance of Red was very well written and the mystery that came with it, made me want to read the book asap. What I loved more, is that romance was found in the midst of book exchanges.
The interesting way in which Kabir get’s Red’s attention is a dream for all book lovers. Oh, how I wish that I got a secret book recommendation too! What started as being complete strangers, book exchangers to friends, and then close friends seem like a perfect relatable love story that is very enjoyable to read.
The author has brought on a lot of topics on the table that are well introduced in the book and are given justice with how they make every character’s life more tangible. It not only shows us that there can be change but the whole story revolves around second chances and how important it is to grab it when it comes our way.
I loved the structure of the book and the third person narration gives a perfect view into every characters life. The details are immaculate and captivating to read. I yearned to read what happened next to Kabir and Red and for that, the suspense and mystery that the author builds around Red had me at the edge of my seat.
Overall, the shy boy meets the mystery girl and falls in love was very entertaining to read. The various topics of assault, alcoholism, and mental illness is spoken about very skillfully. I definitely recommend this book to those who want to read a romantic story as this one has a different style to it.
Beena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She’s a Literary Fiction Novelist and Poetess. She is 27 years old and from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She’s an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and Netflixing.
Book Name: Tribulation (Cops Planet #1) Author: Jaydeep Shah Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller Publication date: June 15th, 2020 Book Source: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
When a couple celebrates their eleventh marriage anniversary at their old mansion far from the city of Naples, Florida, they begin experiencing paranormal events. While trying to find out the truth of what’s happening, they encounter a girl wandering in the mansion.
She is the girl whom the couple never wanted to see again in their life.
Surrounded by their sinful past and the girl’s deathly traps, the couple tries hard to escape the mansion. But they are stuck. There is no way out of the mansion. Every second, they approach their end.
There are many secrets buried in the mansion—about the girl, about the couple, and about their past.
Tribulation is a masterpiece of suspense, a thriller with some mild elements of horror from the imagination of Jaydeep Shah.
What happens when a murderer gets murdered by the person they tried to murder? Did you get it? If not, please read Tribulation by Jaydeep Shah so everything makes sense and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The story is fast-paced, and every chapter shows a new edge to the story. All the characters are shown to do their job well and play out in the most captivating way. We learn about Alex and Casie, as a couple who are celebrating their marriage anniversary at their mansion when things start going wrong. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening and got pretty spooked with the beginning itself. But what everyone thinks is a joke, turns out to be more important and spooky by the chapter.
Ana, the murderee is back for revenge and is going all out to get what she wants. She wants to see Alex and Casie fall. For a while we see Ana winning and then Alex has control but then Emily enters and it is chaotic but intriguing to read.
Although the book was a short page-turner, I would have enjoyed a more detailed run-through. I couldn’t connect with the characters and I wish there was more depth to their backstory. The author sticks to the plot and doesn’t deviate from it to give us any details. I’m someone who enjoys her fair share of descriptive books and this one got over too soon. This is something that can be seen as a pro and con whichever way you want to take it.
The cliff-hanger at the end, is definitely not what I expected and now I’m eager to read the next book in the series. Excuse me, I need more answers! If you like a short, suspense book with good plot twists and appreciable cliff-hangers, then this book is for you!
When I first came across this book, the name had me interested from that moment on. You all know I’m fond of Greek mythology and Calypso is the famous Greek nymph, and to start with this mysterious and unique name is alluring. Next, came the book description which involved wolves, shifters, vampires, and other supernatural species, so I thought, why not? I haven’t read any werewolves/vampire books in a while so this one should be fun!
The introduction of Caly is pretty unique and through her mysterious ability of dream travel. Obviously, in the beginning, I didn’t know it’s Caly’s ability but the dream shows Caly’s unrecognized power. Not only that, but Caly’s characteristics are relatable and lovable. The internal monologue of her coffee, her job, and her cat, Felix. It’s a significant touch of normality within the paranormal setting of the story. I also loved the Crazy Caly Condition alliteration, its pretty catchy!
When Blake’s introduction is made, the alpha male nature of Blake stands out in the way he behaves and treats his fellow pack mates. The responsibility of a pack with different species and leadership suits him to the T. His pack mates are different yet carefully selected for their ability and we can see the years worth of understanding and undying friendships between them.
What I liked the most is the multiple POV’s that makes it so easy to understand the behaviour, feelings, and emotions of the characters. The author has flawlessly incorporated the third-person narration with the voice of each character. It’s done so effortlessly that while reading, I didn’t find any awkward pauses or breaks in the narration. The story and plot flow with immaculate details and descriptions which made me feel like I was right there, present in every situation.
The book is pretty long and it takes a good amount of time to get through. The steamy scenes are well written and showcase the primal, raw, and unadulterated bond of a werewolf and his mate. The playful banter between Rhyland and Rhyker with the other members is hilarious to read and on the outside seem like they’re just a bunch of university friends chilling and living together but on the inside, they are a skilled group of feline hunters. The use of the species imaginative world is done well with mystical and rare abilities that Caly discovers she has. The hunt for The Ghost and The Mastermind also gives a good action and thrill narrative which kept me glued to my seat.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Calypso’s Heart is perfect for those who love a werewolf-human mate bond, shape-shifting hunters, humans with abilities, and a good steamy romance with a perfect revenge plot. I was given this book as an ARC and have voluntarily given my review in exchange for the book as part of the blog tour.
“A prince may be the subject of myth and legend,” he explains, “but he can’t live in them. He should live in the real world, where he can create them.” He looks solemn. “You should pay less mind to fairy tales, Elian, or that’s all you’ll become.”
When he leaves, I think about whether that would be awful, or beautiful. Could it really be such a bad thing, to become a story whispered to children in the dead of night? A song they sing to one another while they play.
The literary fiction world is being dominated by YA authors popping in on the scene left right and center. Amidst this overcrowded genre, the sub-genre of retold fairy tales has carved a niche for itself and authors like Sarah J. Maas and Renee Ahdieh have ensured that mark won’t fade away with the passing of time.
While eloquent authors have deftly embedded plots of Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast and more in their works, the story of Ariel was overlooked by many.
Alexandra Christo‘s debut novel To Kill A Kingdom will steal your heart with the emotions it brings forth. She beautifully creates a world where sirens, mermen and mermaids exist along with humans. Midas is the mightiest of the hundred kingdoms on land and the sea is ruled by one Sea Queen.
Sirens that steal human hearts with nothing but cruelty in their own and a prince that has vowed to end the deadliest siren of all. A mother that prides her crown over her daughter and a father who’s considerable riches aren’t enough to keep his son home. A princess with no land to call home and desire to be queen in the middle of it all. All tied together with the thirst to know more of the legend that promises an end to The Prince’s Bane and bring peace between the land sea.
It’s so easy to get swept by the brilliance of Christo’s writing that I overlooked the lack of development in the novel. It definitely feels too short. Too many characters that haven’t been given the attention they deserve. The novel focuses on singular aspects of the siren princess Lira and pirate Prince Elian of Midas throughout the book. Elian’s advisors aren’t given enough space to develop and as he travels through the seas, the very few characters introduced are portrayed with importance yet not given the same gravity in their time in the novel. Elian’s ace – Princess Yukiko in my opinion is another novel just waiting to happen (Alexandra Christo if you ever read this – HINT).
While the story feels rushed, Christo’s writing style and the plot itself makes the book an interesting and fun read. How did the battle between the land and sea end? We recommend reading the book to find out!