Book Review: ‘Control’ by R. M. Gauthier

“If you thought ’50 Shades’ was good, this is better.”

I couldn’t put this book down. Right from the start, the characters were interesting, and I could relate easily to Lexi as she explored her thoughts and feelings. Before long, I felt like I knew her and was travelling alongside her in her adventures. I grew protective and defensive of her as the story progressed, and felt anger at those who hurt or disappointed her.
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Comparisons with ’50 Shades’ are probably unavoidable, except that Gauthier’s ‘Control’ is better written and the characters are more realistic. There is much less graphic sex, but the tension and desire are palpable, which I actually find a lot more interesting. As an avid reader, I am thankful that there is a lot more thoughtful character development and a far more believable plot. The characters are less wooden and far less shallow and selfish than Ana and Christian, who both frustrated me and angered me at different times.

There are some occasional typos, but they are easy to overlook as the story keeps moving at a really good pace, with some surprises and twists to keep the reader hooked.
There are some sophisticated and complex ideas and themes explored in this book that really challenge the reader’s own perceptions and assumptions. While some of the elements of the book are things that many people might not ever undertake or express an interest in, the point is that we can all benefit from remembering that there is always more to someone’s story than what they are willing or able to tell us.

 This book is only for an adult audience, and I’d suggest that those adults be open-minded and not too conservative in their outlook on life. If you fit into that demographic, then you’ll enjoy this book. If you thought ’50 Shades’ was good, this is better.

I really enjoyed ‘Control’.  Gauthier also has two related novellas, ‘Waiting’ and ‘Longing’, available on Amazon. They are also well worth the read!
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Book Review: The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries by J. Schlenker

‘The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries’
by J. Schlenker is an eclectic collection of
light-hearted, generally humorous short stories …”

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‘The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries’
by J. Schlenker is an eclectic collection of
light-hearted, generally humorous short stories that each deliver something for the reader to muse on. Whether this is a moral or just an entertaining idea varies from one story to the next. While some are more thought-provoking than others, each story is well-written in Schlenker’s conversational, easy-going style.

This was a good collection to pick up and put down throughout the busy Christmas-New Year holiday period, and would easily suit readers with busy and demanding lifestyles, as well as those who just enjoy a good short story from time to time.

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Book Review: ‘Chasing the Chalice’ by Laura C Berlin

Reading this book was a lovely way to luxuriate in language
and find pleasure in poetic pensiveness.

23350012In this collection of verses, Berlin has set out to explore the different ways in which one can express love.

On the first reading, these poems seem quite simple, with alliteration the most prominent technique.

However, as one reads and thinks more deeply, the alliteration gives way to more contemplative thoughts and reflections on the moments and lessons captured in each poem.

Among the many lovely lines delivered here, my favourites are “the harmony of heaven is hypnotic” and
“Underlying you is the universe,
unsurpassed.
Unfathomable.
Unquestionable.                                   ratings-1482011_960_720-3

Reading this book was a lovely way to luxuriate in language
and find pleasure in poetic pensiveness. unnamed

‘Chasing the Chalice’ is available as ebook or paperback at
Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Sweet Vengeance’ by Aliya DalRae.

Brilliant work, Ms DalRae. I already want the sequel.

If you love a riveting read, and you’re not averse to a little paranormal romance, this book has it all: jealousy, love, rage, angst, mystery and intrigue, and some breathtakingly hot moments without being gratuitous or needlessly graphic.

The plot is as intriguing as it is complex, although as one is reading, it does seem straightforward. Such is DalRae’s genius at weaving plot, sub-plot and backstory seamlessly together.

The characters are believable and engaging, yet at the same time vivid and unique.

And that “penny drop” moment at the end? Nothing prepared me for that.

Brilliant work, Ms DalRae. I already want the sequel.     ratings-1482011_960_720-2

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‘If I Wake’ by Nikki Moyes

‘If I Wake’ by Nikki Moyes is a really powerful and confronting book that speaks directly to the issues of bullying, peer pressure and suicide among kids and teens.

if-i-wakeIt’s a journey through Lucy’s world of despair that is punctuated by moments of joy and hope along the way.  Her times of escape are a respite for both Lucy and the reader.

As someone who still grieves one of my own senior high students who took her own life just five months ago, I found this really compelling reading. I wept and, at times, sobbed. I felt angry and defensive, feeling very protective of Lucy and her alternate realities. Lucy isn’t flawless; in fact, she’s portrayed quite realistically. While she’s not perfect, she certainly doesn’t deserve the cards she gets dealt by either her peers or her family.
“If I Wake’ made me want to reach into the world of the book and change things to give Lucy some hope for her future. To be honest, I wanted to be able to mete justice on some of the characters, which worked very effectively in keeping me
hooked right to   the end of the book.
However, that’s not how life works. ‘If I Wake’ firmly places the responsibility on those who make life so desperately hard for others, and demonstrates that their behaviour cannot be excused, regardless of whatever might be going on in their own lives.
Eventually, in something of a coup for the author, I was led to experience some compassion for the personal circumstances of some – but only some – of the characters who gave Lucy such a difficult life. This is really a testament to the power of Moyes’ writing.
I recommend ‘If I Wake’ for every teen, every parent, and every teacher. I’d love to see it as compulsory reading on every school’s book list.
Six stars out of five for ‘If I Wake’. ratings-1482011_960_720-4 ratings-1482011_960_720-2unnamed
Don’t tell me I can’t do that.  I was never good at counting.

‘Gentleman With Brass Knuckles’ by Emmanuel Obi

Emmanuel Obi has perfectly captured the essence of the detective noir genre with his lead character, Bruce Howard…

Emmanuel Obi has perfectly captured the essence of the detective noir genre with his lead character, Bruce Howard.

 

The stories in this collection move at a good pace, and have some interesting and likeable characters that provide connection and consistency between different stories. Obi has generated some really interesting storylines and twists that keep the reader guessing.

 

It’s also refreshing that, over time, his lead character reveals his own weaknesses and humanity, which add another layer of complexity to his bravado and his genius for solving crime.

There is some adult content, so I’d recommend this book for anyone over 18 who enjoys a good, old-fashioned “whodunnit” with modern twists.

In short, this is a really enjoyable collection.

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You can find both of Emmanuel Obi’s Bruce Howard collections at Amazon.

‘Crazy for Alice’ – Alex Dunn

‘Crazy for Alice’ challenges the reader to question their assumptions… #YA #novella #book #booklovers #fantasy

‘Crazy for Alice’ challenges the reader to question their assumptions and understandings of other people, especially those who seem to push the boundaries. Can we always be sure that someone who sounds crazy really is? Can we always assume that the popularly accepted “story”is actually correct?

This is a really interesting and compelling book. It has a very satisfying balance of humour and desperation among the characters, with a few good heart stopping moments thrown in for good measure. The ending leaves the reader with a strong sense of resolution.

I’d definitely recommend it for any YA audience, and for anyone older who still enjoys a good story.

It would suit anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling or A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

I’ll definitely be recommending it for a few people I know.
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You can find ‘Crazy for Alice’ on Amazon as a paperback or for Kindle.