Tag Archives: Short Stories

Review: Survival of the Christmas Spirit (The Survival Series #2) by Aimee Horton

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About Survival of the Christmas Spirit

“Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!” Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

My Review

Hilarious, sentimental. I empathized with Dottie, no doubt a few of us have been in her shoes at one time or another, granted maybe not as quasi catastrophic but close nonetheless. Certainly this family will not forget such a memorable holiday in more ways than one.

Despite the numerous mishaps poor Dottie faced they ultimately reenforced the fact no matter what hiccups occur it’s being together, sharing the moment that matters most.

Witty, quick holiday read sure to make you smile during this joyous and hectic time of year as it expresses the deeper meaning of coming together as a family at Christmas.

Horton delivers comic relief and a delightful sport in Dottie, looking forward to reading more from Horton and of Dottie.

About Aimee Horton7064473

Author and writer of anything that pays for her ASOS habit, Aimee lives in Lincoln with her husband and two children. She released her first book from The Survival Series in 2013, and hasn’t looked back since.

A self-confessed social media addict, when she’s not writing books or drinking gin you can usually find Aimee on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Published July 2nd 2015 by Velvet Morning Press (first published December 1st 2013)

Review & Giveaway: Hot Stuff: Surfing Love by Carla Caruso, Maria Lewis, Alli Sinclair, Tess Woods

Hot Stuff-Surfing Love Cover image

Hot Stuff: Surfing Love
by  Carla Caruso, Maria Lewis, Alli SinclairTess Woods
Publication Date: AUS Impulse (January 1, 2016)

PREORDER:
AmazonAmazon UK • Amazon AU • Amazon CAiBooks • GoogleKobo

About Hot Stuff: Surfing Love

Hot sun, warm bodies, tight skin, electricity on the air … four top romance authors give you their take on summer.

From Carla Caruso – A chance meeting with a pro-surfer on an island getaway …
From Maria Lewis – The world of women’s surfing throws two recent bedmates together …
From Alli Sinclair – A world-famous performer finds her heart and a way to fight her demons in Rio de Janeiro …
From Tess Woods – A Cornish beach retreat proves a full reawakening …

My Review

Carla Caruso
Six-star Weekend
The surprise ending really made this story shine. I like Sage, her uninhibitedness, her assertiveness, she’s definitely making the most of her holiday time and when she collides with Harley – WOW what a vacation for both of them. Harley’s all man, he is more than smitten with Sage. Sexy and sentimental. I wouldn’t mind reading more of this lusty coupling. Caruso’s amorous weekend spree will jar recollections of the readers own holiday escapades.

Maria Lewis
The Bluff
Being an avid surfer myself I loved this story. Lewis sketches the beauty and brutality of surfing through gritty maverick renown surfer Ever, YES, Lewis gives the reader a badass female surfer!! Ever is one tough athlete and woman, however she has one unknowingly recently acquired diehard male fan in tow. My feminist side found Ever and her effort flawless, very well done. Fellow surfers will undoubtedly appreciate this tactile/sensory story along with fierce Ever. Bravo Maria Lewis! Love an author taking the road less travelled crafting a true gem!

Alli Sinclair
Song of the Sea
Loved the snippets of Brazil, just enough to create the perfect ambience. Fate played a major role in this uplifting union of friendship and love. Lexi and Miguel both fight and slay their demons together. Great message of ‘stop letting past failures dictate the future’ as these two gentle souls discover.

Tess Woods
Destiny in a Day
Simple, romantic, two endearing characters all creating the perfect recipe of finding true love when you least expect it. Proof ‘no such thing as an accident.’ You can’t fight serendipity, as two hearts leave the painful past behind in the name of love. A story melting the strongest cynics heart. Lovely and touching, subtly forceful.

As with all fabulously written short stories they tease you leaving you hankering for more, these authoresses handiwork are no exception. I love the surfing aspect, I loved the strength and independence of all the female characters, they ran the show not the men. Great collection, hated reaching the end.

About the Authors

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollinsCarla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, in between writing romantic comedy novels, she plays mum to twin lads Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. Her books include the ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series (kicking off with A Pretty Mess), Starcrossed, and Unlucky for Some. Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au, ‘Carla Caruso Author’ on Facebook, or her blog, www.theunitalianwife.com.

Maria Lewis is a journalist and author based in Sydney, Australia. Having spent a large part of PastedGraphic-1her teens touring Australia as a sponsored surfer, she leapt at the opportunity to be part of the Hot Stuff sexy surfer anthology – because abs *grunts*. Getting her start as a police and crime reporter at a local newspaper, Maria soon transitioned into writing about film and entertainment for publications such as The Daily Mail, New York Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Empire magazine, Penthouse, Junkee, WHO Weekly, Huffington Post and many more. A journalist for over a decade, she also regularly appears as a pop culture commentator on television and radio. She’s the co-host and producer of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminism podcast. Her debut novel – urban fantasy series Who’s Afraid? – is set for release on January 12 in Australia through Hachette and worldwide on July 14 through Little Brown Books and Piatkus Fiction. She can be found tweeting too much at @MovieMazz, on Facebook at Maria Lewis Writer and online at marialewis.com.au.

7791056Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author who spent her early adult years travelling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.

All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories combine her passion for exotic destinations, the quirks of human nature, and the belief that everyone has an adventure waiting to unfold.

Alli’s next releases will be Under The Spanish Stars, available in February, 2016 (Harlequin MIRA Australia) and Midnight Serenade (Kensington Publishing) will be available in July, 2016.

Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young Australians.

To find out more about Alli, please visit www.allisinclair.com

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, 13563118one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Her first novel, Love at First Flight, released by HarperCollins in April 2015 received worldwide critical acclaim and hit the best-seller charts in Australia, being nominated for Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards and Tess being nominated for Best New Author. Her short story, Destiny in Day, will released in the HarperCollins anthology Hot Stuff: Surfing Love in December 2015 and Tess is currently writing her second full-length novel, Flat White with One. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys chatting with her readers online, reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch. You can learn more about Tess on her website www.tesswoods.com.au

Giveaway

Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Hot Stuff: Surfing Love. Open Internationally. Ends 12/16/15
ENTRY-FORM

Cover Reveal: Hot Stuff: Surfing Love by Carla Caruso, Maria Lewis, Alli Sinclair, Tess Woods,

Hot Stuff-Surfing Love Cover image

Hot Stuff: Surfing Love
by  Carla Caruso, Maria Lewis, Alli SinclairTess Woods
Publication Date: AUS Impulse (January 1, 2016)

PREORDER:
AmazonAmazon UK • Amazon AU • Amazon CAiBooks • GoogleKobo

About Hot Stuff: Surfing Love

Hot sun, warm bodies, tight skin, electricity on the air … four top romance authors give you their take on summer.

From Carla Caruso – A chance meeting with a pro-surfer on an island getaway …
From Maria Lewis – The world of women’s surfing throws two recent bedmates together …
From Alli Sinclair – A world-famous performer finds her heart and a way to fight her demons in Rio de Janeiro …
From Tess Woods – A Cornish beach retreat proves a full reawakening …

About the Authors

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollinsCarla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, in between writing romantic comedy novels, she plays mum to twin lads Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. Her books include the ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series (kicking off with A Pretty Mess), Starcrossed, and Unlucky for Some. Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au, ‘Carla Caruso Author’ on Facebook, or her blog, www.theunitalianwife.com.

Maria Lewis is a journalist and author based in Sydney, Australia. Having spent a large part of PastedGraphic-1her teens touring Australia as a sponsored surfer, she leapt at the opportunity to be part of the Hot Stuff sexy surfer anthology – because abs *grunts*. Getting her start as a police and crime reporter at a local newspaper, Maria soon transitioned into writing about film and entertainment for publications such as The Daily Mail, New York Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Empire magazine, Penthouse, Junkee, WHO Weekly, Huffington Post and many more. A journalist for over a decade, she also regularly appears as a pop culture commentator on television and radio. She’s the co-host and producer of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminism podcast. Her debut novel – urban fantasy series Who’s Afraid? – is set for release on January 12 in Australia through Hachette and worldwide on July 14 through Little Brown Books and Piatkus Fiction. She can be found tweeting too much at @MovieMazz, on Facebook at Maria Lewis Writer and online at marialewis.com.au.

7791056Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author who spent her early adult years travelling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.

All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories combine her passion for exotic destinations, the quirks of human nature, and the belief that everyone has an adventure waiting to unfold.

Alli’s next releases will be Under The Spanish Stars, available in February, 2016 (Harlequin MIRA Australia) and Midnight Serenade (Kensington Publishing) will be available in July, 2016.

Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young Australians.

To find out more about Alli, please visit www.allisinclair.com

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, 13563118one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Her first novel, Love at First Flight, released by HarperCollins in April 2015 received worldwide critical acclaim and hit the best-seller charts in Australia, being nominated for Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards and Tess being nominated for Best New Author. Her short story, Destiny in Day, will released in the HarperCollins anthology Hot Stuff: Surfing Love in December 2015 and Tess is currently writing her second full-length novel, Flat White with One. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys chatting with her readers online, reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch. You can learn more about Tess on her website www.tesswoods.com.au

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent 0.1 – 0.4) by Veronica Roth

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Four: The Transfer (Divergent, #0.1):Better than I expected. It was nice to get more insight into Four’s home life and to see the beginning of his transformation from cowering victim to strong survivor. 3.5/5

The Initiate (Divergent, #0.2):The second installment in the Four quartet of novellas was a decent read. However I did find my mind wandering at times, it just didn’t hold my attention as well as “The Transfer”. It’s been a while since I have read the Divergent trilogy and I might have enjoyed this story more if I remembered all the characters from before. 3/5

The Son (Divergent, #0.3):The third installment of Four tidbits left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t like how passive Four was in this story and didn’t agree with his choices,although I can appreciate that we was being pulled in a million directions at once.

It was also interesting(if not supremely frustrating)to learn more about the beginning of the end of Dauntless.

Overall this is a solid novella,but nothing special. 3/5

Four: The Traitor (Divergent, #0.4):Out of all of the novellas, this is my favourite. Although this series did dampen my love of Four. I thought it was stupid how he knew everything and did hardly anything to prevent it.

I was very annoyed at how he rejected leadership because he didn’t want to be a pawn, yet he was too shortsighted to realize that he was still a pawn working in the control room, just one without power…really didn’t understand his thought process.

Overall though,this was a fun and worthwhile read but I would suggest picking this up from your library rather than buying


Kindle Edition, 1st, 348 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Momentum Books, Pan Macmillan (first published March 1st 2014)
ASINB00H8KB55O

Reviewer: Dana
| Goodreads |

Love & Profanity by Nick Healy

imageHere are more than forty short, brilliant, and unforgettable true stories from writers famous and on-the-rise. Here is the intensity of daily life. Here are transformative moments arising from the mundane. Here are strange and surprising tales that tap into universal truths. Here are teenagers in full splendor and horror. Here they are, bursting with love and profanity.

A wonderful collection of short stories. All of the stories were well written, ranging from powerful, humorous, to tender, sweeping various decades as well as a wide age span of individual characters. I smiled, laughed out loud, became teary eyed with the various messages and content. More than a few hit home, most I could relate to in some form. A collection transporting you to days of youth, or jogging your memory of a friend or of your own child. Provoking, affecting and fun, a collection not to be missed. Great authors spinning fabulous yarns. Short story fans and/or those fond of reminiscing of teen years will undoubtedly enjoy Love & Profanity.


Expected publication: March 1st 2015 by Switch Press
Pages 232
ISBN139781630790127
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

Recommendation: 4/5

The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told

The Witch And Other Tales Re-Toldimage
Jean Thompson

I’m really into the concept of re-telling classic fairy tales in a modern voice and fresh outlook. Seems to be the current craze, I have had the pleasure of reading a few novellas accomplishing this challenging task. Thompson does a great job pulling this off in The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told. A wonderful version of her interpretation of classic tales all with a quasi edge, plenty of creepiness, some humor all cleverly written with an avant guard thread. Included in Thompson’s version you will discover a spin off of Hansel & Gretel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper, Bluebeard and a few drawn from Rapunzel.

The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told causes a fright, a laugh or two, and will engage the reader in thought. A few of the tales are recognizable from the start, a few you’re left to decipher on your own, adding to the fun – personally I find any aspect INVOLVING the reader welcomed.

I will refrain from describing too much of the stories, don’t want to diminish your reading journey. I will say, I enjoyed all the stories but two I found especially appealing, The Witch – a take on Hansel & Gretel with foster care children at the center. Pretty powerful interpretation with poignant themes. My other favorite, The Curse – a Rapunzel vibe with a dark ending, you knew it was inevitable but the impact was powerful.

A lover of short stories I completely enjoyed this collection. Thompson’s interpretation was clever, ingenious and well presented. Full of imagination, morality, unique scenarios merging to establish modern twists causing a unexpected eerie journey in just the right dosage.

Releasing the later part of September (September 25, 2014)  worth adding to your TBR. Thompson demonstrates a skillful and inventive presence, high probability you won’t be disappointed.


▪︎Expected publication: September 25th 2014 by Blue Rider Press
▪︎272 Pages
▪︎ISBN13: 9780399170584
A copy was provided in exchange for and honest review

Recommendation: 3/5