**REVIEW w/excerpt** Lunchtime Eavesdropper by Joanie Chevalier

lunchtime eavesdropperTitle: Lunchtime Eavesdropper

Author: Joanie Chevalier

Genre: Contemporary, psychological self-belief fiction

Release date: July 20th, 2015

Length: 40 pages

Blurb: Meet Marlee, a woman who lives a comfortable but simple life with her loving partner, the adorable Larry. She discovers that covertly listening in on other people’s conversations during lunch hour excites her and adds to her otherwise humble life. When she overhears unpleasant gossip about herself, she becomes obsessed with changing her personality and makes the bad decision to become someone she’s not. After her total makeover, Marlee suddenly finds herself basking in the attention of her co-workers and is ecstatic when she’s finally invited to sit at the “popular” table at work. But is a personality change really worth the price? Is being popular worth losing herself, possibly the love of her life and/or redefining her own definition of happiness?

Come and take part in Marlee’s life, even though it’s only for a short time, and experience her yearning to belong and be accepted for who she is. You may be surprised by the unexpected twist in her story.

REVIEW

Lunchtime Eavesdropper is a real ‘stay true to yourself’ kinda read. The psychological effects of overhearing people talk about yourself can take over even rational thoughts. And, this is how is affects Marlee. Although the comments are hurtful, she takes heed and begins to question herself, doubting who she really is.

It all became a bit of fun, changing her appearance, wanting to share some time with girlfriends and being able to talk with them. But, after a night out clubbing, she begins to think that she has taken things too far. She never really enjoyed these girls’ company anyway, so why start to now?

This novella explores the psychological effects that others can have on a person when expressing their personal opinion, or even the opinion that they believe others want to hear when they are trying to be popular and fit in.

Marlee loves Larry. He is the love of her life. He has always loved her for who she is and how she treats him, But, with changes that Marlee is making, it does begin to affect him too.

It isn’t all too serious as Marlee tells the reader in first person her most innermost thoughts. Some are quite flippant or amusing comments. And when she begins making some changes, during a shopping trip she gets a little excited when she finds a beautiful photo frame, but with the perfect, handsome guy she’s ever seen. She decides to buy it and later places it on her office desk, making out that the guy is in fact Larry!

With some surprises there are a few times when you will question what is really happening. There is a slight realisation towards the end of this short story that did make me smile, even though there is a more serious message. Is it really worth changing for other people? For the trouble and upset it can cause you and those around you? The story hints in places at having some criminal element, but the most powerful subject is Marlee’s psychological state and how she deals with her life – fantasy or otherwise!

A copy of Lunchtime Eavesdropper was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Lunchtime Eavesdropper is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

EXCERPT

Reluctantly, I returned the frame to the dusty shelf, swearing, almost sure that my bizarre behavior was probably because I’ve been depressed ever since The Tragic Event.  I felt ashamed and I walked away slowly and dejectedly from the shelf with the beautiful frame.  But when I reached the end of the aisle, I couldn’t help myself and made a quick u-turn causing my heel to squeak as it left a black skid mark on the linoleum.  When I returned to the framed photo, I snatched it up, like a metal claw inside a machine full of stuffed animals.  My hand was the claw and I had won the top prize: a beautiful sea shelled frame with a photo of a gorgeous male model, his deep brown eyes gazing at me with desire.

Author bio:

I was born in the L.A. area and our family moved up and down the West Coast for most of my childhood, finally settling in Washington State when I was about 12. After living many years in Washington State, where it is gray for 350 days of the year (might be an exaggeration but it’s close!), I finally decided I needed more vitamin D and made the decision to move to the San Francisco Bay area. I pay more taxes in California but I call it the “Sun/Fun Tax,” so it’s okay! Since I didn’t know anyone when I moved, I decided that I could write in (all) my spare time (besides working full-time). In addition to writing, I love being out in my yard creating color and camping in my teardrop trailer. I’m lucky that I have one fantastic boyfriend who loves traveling with me and I live with my son, an awkward teenage boy/man who does laundry when he can’t find anything clean to wear from his floor.

Author Links:

Twitter: @JoanieChevalier

Website: Joanie Chevalier, Author and Book Reviewer

Goodreads

Independent Author Network

Facebook: Author Joanie Chevalier

Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) by C.J. Pinard

Patriotic-duty-smashwords1400Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) has everything that I love in this contemporary romance by C.J. Pinard (Enchanted Immortals series). This short novel is fun, cheeky, sexy and saucy but not without the drama of a beautiful romance. If you’re looking for a hot, cute soldier who’s looking for more than somewhere to spend the night, then Riley is your man and Patriotic Duty is your kind of book!

Single mum and recent divorcee, Cara Reid spends most of her weekends with her best friend, Miranda, having fun going to clubs, living it up and meeting hot guys. She is young and not in the least thinking to settling down any time soon, especially after her experience with her ex. However, one night after hooking up with Riley her summer is planned. He is to be in California for the summer before he is due back in Colorado, and so they spend summer together.

Cara naturally opens up to him and accepts his ways far more than she would anyone else. She is falling for him, even though she doesn’t want to admit it. Of course, it is just a summer fling. Or at least that is what she keeps informing Miranda when she stops partying for a while to be with Riley. However, as the summer comes to a close, Riley is given orders to do a tour of nine months in Afghanistan. As they agree to keep in touch, Cara is left feeling a little lost. Still not wanting to admit to her true feelings and yet not wanting to return to her life of partying with Miranda, Cara is left with a decision to make. Will she wait for her cute, hot soldier or does she move on with her life?

During the summer that they are together, Cara and Riley spend day trips together, go to a concert, visit bars, have some hot, fantastic sex, and Riley even gets to meet Cara’s son on some occasions. This shows how well their relationship is going, as usually Cara keeps this side of her life away from her son. Riley is very sweet, although the strong, silent type in some instances. Cara seems to be his world and the reader feels his sincerity to her. It is only his quieter side at times that makes Cara and the reader wonder what he is really thinking. But all will be revealed as the story moves on.

Patriotic Duty is a nice, light romance that becomes a little more serious and dramatic as the novel enters its second half, especially with Riley on tour in Afghanistan and Cara having little contact with him. What is going through Cara’s mind? Can she focus on getting her party life back with Miranda?

When Riley Met Cara has the potential to bceome much more complex and darker as the series moves on. However, for the first book of the series it does have a simple straight forward plot, which I loved after reading some heavy psychological horrors recently!! There were parts early on that made me laugh out loud as the interaction between Cara and Miranda was fun. They certainly knew how to have a laugh and cheer each other up.

I found Miranda to be a great supportive friend for Cara. Miranda, also a single mum, had been left by her ex to bring up their child and therefore, was in the same boat as Cara. Both characters are realistic and so long as the babysitters are available, of course young women would want to go out at weekends and have some fun. They also spend time together with their kids and meet up for lunch during their working week, and so have a tight bond, like sisters.

Although, Miranda’s attitude towards Cara does slightly change as she realises that Cara is becoming quite serious with Riley. She is perhaps worried for Cara that Riley will treat her bad in the end, and she may be a little jealous of the time that Riley spends with Cara when she could be with her. This is what makes Patriotic Duty realistic and easy to connect with. The characters have real feelings and thoughts that the majority of us have, and these lead to similar situations that we have either been in or those that we know have been in.

Brilliantly written by C.J. Pinard, Patriotic Duty is very fluid and there is not a moment that you lose grips with the story. I read this book in one day and so it is a very quick read. Due to the hot love scenes this book is recommended for those above the age of 18 yrs.

If you are a fan of C.J. Pinard’s urban fantasy/paranormal series, Enchanted Immortals, you will see a whole different side of her work in Patriotic Duty. C.J. has shown just how versatile her writing can be, and I for one absolutely love it. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the When Riley Met Cara series.

A Reader’s Review Blog received a copy of Patriotic Duty from the author in return for fair and honest review.

You can find Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) by C.J. Pinard on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Smashwords.

If you would like to contact C.J. Pinard you can reach her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CJPinardAuthor or you can e-mail her at cjpinardauthor@gmail.com.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker