*Review Round-Up* Nov & Dec 2015

Hi readers, it has been a while since our last Review Round-Up, and so I do hope that you are all well and had a fantastic Christmas Holiday!

Although I have been reading a great deal, with a house move to the coast over the Christmas period, and having a short time without Wi-Fi it has taken me a little longer to write and publish blog posts. I have, however, been enjoying Scarborough (UK) life with walks along the coast, up the cliffs and around the castle remains, as well as visiting author Anne Brontes grave! Meanwhile, Tina has held up the fort like a true warrior with the amount of reviews she has posted, as well as assisting a local Lit Fest! Thanks, Tina ❤

We have quite a mix of genres from the end of 2015 to share with you, from dystopian sci-fi fantasies, to erotic paranormal romances, historical romances and a mystery chick-lit! Amongst them is also a gritty, Scottish crime thriller, Blue Wicked by Alan Jones, which we are currently running a giveaway on. (For more info on this, please click the title.)

As always, please click on the titles to view our full reviews and more!

Although a little later than usual we wish you all a Happy New Year x

Caroline & Tina 🙂

Peter WellsThe Man Who Missed the Boat by Peter Wells, contemporary drama (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him. How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us. Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure? In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences? In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.

Point vmpThe Point of Evil, Point Vamp: Book Four by Victoria Bliss, erotic paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Blood and sex were all he ever wanted until love gave him something worth living an eternity for.

Steve—who had been a womanizer in life and was even more so in death—prowls the Point using his vampiric wiles to get the blood and sex he craves. He’s always looking for his next meal and when he sees a tall, curvy beauty with a red scarf around her neck, he thinks he’s found it.

Eloise is different—she’s shy and needs encouragement, and Steve just can’t get her out of his mind. He has to take his time, get to know her and slowly seduce her. When she disappears, leaving only a note begging him not to pursue her further, he can’t help himself and ends up in the service of George Aquino, a vampire crime boss with a penchant for twisted and cruel torture and a dungeon full of prisoners.

A daring rescue, a difficult choice and love against the odds. Do you dare visit the point of evil?

The Point Vamp series

What is The Point? It is the hottest club in town for both Vampires and humans alike. It has a large dance floor and a bar like any other club but once you disappear behind the VIP only door you find out what makes The Point so unique. Sex, blood and lust all behind closed doors and only accessed by the chosen ones.

Now, you become a chosen one and get to see the sexy world behind that door.

Welcome to The Point.

Dariana30 Days by JA Heron, erotic thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Dariana Walsh is the daughter of a ruthless gangster and heir to his empire. Not only does she feel trapped, but she has many questions about numerous incidents that have happened in her life so far. Particularly, what happened to her mother? Her father sees her as his little girl, but she longs to be treated like an adult. He wants to shape her, to become more like him, but she resists, the only way she knows how…

One of Wilson Walsh’s men – Chas – is not who he seems. He was sent to infiltrate, earn trust and walk away with Wilson’s most treasured possession, his daughter. He has a plan to take down the most unrelenting man to walk the streets of East London.
Over the next thirty days, blood is shed, friendships are formed and amongst all of the pain and suffering, surprisingly, love blossoms.

In a sea of betrayal and violence… time and love know no bounds.

***Contains strong sexual and violent scenes ~ over 18’s only. There are strong, dark scenes in this book if you do not wish to read about violence, sexual violence or child abuse, then please do not buy this book***

Treagar's redemption coverTraegar’s Redemption (Woodland Creek) by Isobelle Cate, sci-fi paranormal time-travel romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Marcus Theodoric Treagar is a sabretooth with a curse that has him traveling through time, leaving a trail of dead bodies. Not only that, but as soon as he falls in love, he is wrenched away from that period and returned to 16th century Venice. To save the last remaining piece of his heart, he refuses to become involved again.

Until Paisley Halleran.

As the daughter of the shifter chronicler, Paisley Halleran knows that magick and the paranormal abound in Woodland Creek. With her adopted brother, Virgil Rowtag, they fight for every shifter’s rights in the area. When Paisley comes face to face with Marcus, who has been arrested for a murder he does not remember committing, she believes he is innocent. Marcus, on the other hand, knows he has finally found the woman truly meant for him.
However, not everything is cut and dried. Paisley unearths tragic secrets and lies that link her to Marcus. Not only will it show her whether Marcus is truly innocent or guilty of the murders in Woodland Creek, it will also spell the difference between staying with Marcus because she wants to, or letting him go because she has no choice. 

NaliniShield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh, sci-fi fantasy paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch – if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake . . .

Having rebuilt her life after medical ‘treatment’ that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.

But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness . . .

RavenscrestThe Ghosts of Ravencrest (The Ravencrest Saga #1) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, modern gothic, erotic horror, paranormal (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Darkness Never Dies …
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …
Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …
Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

Windward Secrets CoverWindward Secrets by K.A. Davis, paranormal horror suspense, mystery, chick-lit (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: At just over 67,700 words Windward Secrets is a fast paced mystery laced  with humour, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal that will make the reader gasp at times, and soften their hearts at other times.

When Claire McPherson booked Windward Cottage, for the annual reunion with three college friends, her biggest concern was whether they would like the weather-beaten, old Victorian on Cape Cod. Claire, Diane, Jill, and Caroline are in for more than a little Right and R. Windward Cottage has its own special powers of seduction. After 35 years of friendship they thought they knew everything about each other, but the old house draws confessions out of each and leads them unwillingly into a 50yearold mystery.

What was planned to be a vacation filled with fun, food, and reminiscing turns into one that will change their lives forever. Who or what is trying to frighten them? Only one woman’s stubborn determination keeps them at Windward Cottage when common sense tells them to leave. Fear, danger, and unexplained events connect the four women to each other and to Windward Cottage. Three of the women find their futures, and one finds her past.

Readers will recognize someone they know in every character as Windward Secrets heightens their awareness of the heinous crime of human trafficking.

Dream AlchemyDream Alchemy (Life and Shadow Series) by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley, dystopian sci-fi fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

goddessGoddess by Kelee Morris, contemporary, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Wife, mother, PTA president… Sex Goddess?

For Julia Nelson, it was only a faded tattoo, almost forgotten, like the sex-charged dreams that inspired it some 20 years ago.

For renowned, rugged-sexy archaeologist Dr. Ashland Stewart, it was his greatest discovery, the sacred emblem of an ancient goddess culture.

Two symbols, eons apart, yet exact duplicates. It must be a coincidence. But when Julia and Ashland meet, their connection is instantaneous, powerful, erotic.

Julia’s suburban life is safe and comfortable. She has everything to lose.

Ashland’s world is remote archaeological digs and flings with younger women. He’s sexually free but emotionally guarded.

Ashland awakens Julia’s long buried inner goddess with breath-taking passion and insatiable desire.

But their sexual adventure becomes increasingly perilous as their emotional barriers crumble. Will Julia risk falling in love and soaring to new heights, or will she return to her earthbound responsibility to her family? 

BlueWicked_Dark_300DPIBlue Wicked by Alan Jones, crime thriller, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: ‘Blue Wicked’ is a gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there’s a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

kris tuallaA Discreet Gentleman of Discovery (The Discreet Gentleman Series #1) by Kris Tualla, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Brander Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at twenty-three. Furious at his father’s betrayal, Brander leaves home to make his way as Lord Olsen, a ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ in 1721 Christiania, Norway. He intends to gain his own estate and begins buying the debt markers on Kildahlshus.

Baroness Regin Kildahl’s husband has gambled away her estate and sunk to more dangerous habits. She writes to Lord Olsen soliciting his help saving both her husband and her home. When her husband dies, Regin offers herself and her title to anyone who will redeem his gambling debts, unaware of Brander’s plan and circumventing his efforts.

The Hansen heir accepts her offer and hires Lord Olsen to deliver his bride. Brander’s choices are clear: give the widow and her estate to his younger brother, or claim them both as his own. But who would accept a deaf husband?

LachlanDiscovered (Forsaken Blood #1) by Em Taylor, sci-fi romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Lachlan Ethelred Mackenzie looks like an ordinary sexy university professor, but for over a millennium, he’s been one of a number of his kind trying to steer humanity towards the heavens. But humans are slow and stubborn.

It’s been a long slow journey since the spaceship from Vampyras experienced technical difficulty near Earth in 1006 and the Vampyrs had to abandon ship, and learn to survive on a planet filled with primitive beings.

It’s now 2061, and humanity is heading to Mars – perhaps now the Vampyrs can research space folding technology away from prying human eyes.

Psychologist, Doctor Kate Maxwell is excited about going to Mars—except for one thing – she’s terrified of the journey. A space accident when she was twelve has left her with PTSD and a fear of space travel. But when the handsome Professor, Lachlan Mackenzie becomes her cabin mate she finds herself falling for him all too easily. But why is he so reticent? He’s cute, single and seems altogether perfect.

Things are getting complicated for Lachlan. He’s falling for the sexy red-headed psychologist, his long-lost daughter is on board the spaceship to Mars and she has no clue what or who he is and it seems that the leader of the Vampyr council is plotting something. Lachlan has too many secrets and too many problems. And Kate is the only thing he wants. Can he keep his hands and his fangs away from her? Does he want to? And what will happen if she discovers his secret?

All hell is about to break loose.

This book contains scenes of an adult nature.

Sex Snow and MistletoeSex, Snow and Mistletoe (short story) by Laura Barnard, contemporary, festive holiday romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Melinda is already having a crappy Christmas. Forced to attend some snotty bitch’s wedding is not the way to start out the holidays. But when a car crash pushes her into the path of a handsome stranger she’s glad to follow his snowy, sexy and seductive path. But is he too good to be true? And will she make it to the wedding before her best friend loses her mind with worry?

Please note this is a short story of 10k words.

MirandaMiranda’s Dilemma (Fashionably Impure #1) by Natasha Blackthorne, erotic, regency, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Poised to become Mayfair’s most expensive and exclusive courtesan, Miss Miranda Jones finds her rise inexplicably blocked by a socially powerful nobleman. Scorned by her ducal father and determined to attain everything that life has denied her due to an accident of birth, she’s not about to let this arrogant earl stop her.

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, saw his father destroyed by a heartless, predatory courtesan. He has no time or patience for such exotic, expensive ladybirds. He’s far too busy restoring his family’s wealth and reputation whilst doing what he can to protect his friends from the clutches of all the scheming courtesans of London.

Then a moment of compassion turns intense dislike to breathless passion, and these two strong-willed, fiercely proud people are compelled to indulge in a brief affair. Each is convinced that they can satisfy their craving for the other without emotional risk.

But neither realizes that a little dalliance can be a dangerous thing.

Reader Advisory: This is an erotic historical romance and it contains frank sexual language and period appropriate sexual slang, frequent sexual scenes and descriptions and general bedchamber naughtiness. The characters discuss abuse issues from their backstories during the course of their developing relationship. For Adults 18 & Over Only.

Men of the BorderlandsThe Men of the Border Lands Collection, Volume 1 (Ménage Everlasting) by Marla Monroe, erotic, futuristic ménage à trois romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: (This collection includes three books from the Men of the Border Lands series, nearly 110k words total). MFM, erotic romance.

In Belonging to Them, while escaping slavery in the Border Lands, Heather hides in a trailer belonging to brothers Brandon and Bolton. They take her to their farm and prove they won’t harm her. Bolton quickly falls in love, but Brandon pulls away. After a wolf attack almost takes her from them, Brandon must realize he could lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

In A Home with Them, fed up with the reluctant men who have cared for her for five years, Jessie takes matters into her own hands. Wyatt and Kent worry that their kind of love isn’t what Jessie needs, but a tough life out in the Border Lands and a kidnapping show the men that Jessie belongs with them.

In Their Border Lands Temptress, after the year of catastrophes, Ronnie jumps at an offer of protection from a lifelong friend. When the safety becomes abuse, she runs. Brice and Garrett know she needs a man to protect her, and they are hell-bent to help her. When danger shows up at their door, Ronnie must decide if she’s ready for them to be more than lovers or if she’s too scared to let them into her heart.

The Border Lands are a dangerous place, but love and passion are often the keys to surviving.

** A Siren Erotic Romance

HMFHold Me Until Forever (Grayson Brothers #3) by Christina Phillips, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

**REVIEW** ~ The Man Who Missed The Boat, by Peter Wells

Contemporary

Peter Wells

Book Blurb

It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him. How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us. Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure? In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences? In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.

My Review

Entertaining and Thought Provoking Personal Drama*****

Once again Peter Wells has produced a thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking novel which sheds light on the human condition and contains some excellent characterisations.

The main character Simon has hitherto drifted through life with no clear direction in terms of his personal or career goals. He has had no long term relationships with the opposite sex and is regarded as a disappointment by his well-to-do professional father. His saving grace is his ability to play and teach the piano which just about keeps him financially afloat. Yet one morning, when he arrives at the house of one of his young students, all that is about to change. He is swept into a drama not of his own making, but in which he finds that he has the starring role.

I loved how Peter Wells describes how Simon’s life begins to career out of control as his innate desire to please others and do the right thing wars with his sense of personal freedom. Simon gets into scrape after scrape with not one but two women who desire him. Overnight he is transformed from a man who is almost invisible to one who is a notorious player in one domestic drama after another! There is both dramatic and comedic value in the unfolding story, as Simon struggles to put his own wants and needs aside as he strives to give emotional support to his young pupil Amy and her mother Mrs Cummngs, after Mr Cummings’ infedelity and fall from grace.

His inability to assert what he really wants from life to himself and others leads to drama after drama, provoking hilarious and dire reactions from those around him including Ruth and Amy, the cheating Mr Cummings, his own family, the parents of his pupils and a young woman who begins o see him a completely new light due to his recent elevation from a simple piano teacher to lothario!

Peter Wells’ writing is amazingly well crafted as he delves deep into his characters and we become privy to exactly what makes them tick. There are also entertaining observations on life which are peppered thoughout the novel. Whilst reading it I was prompted to look long and hard at my own life and that of others as I digested his wry observations!

Recommended for readers who enjoy reading about the personal dramas that punctuate and imact upon the lives of those around us, often in unforseen and surprising ways!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     Amazon.com

Connect with the Author

https://countingducks.wordpress.com/author/countingducks/

https://twitter.com/countingducks

https://www.facebook.com/Peter-Wells-At-Countingducks-211320669045417/?fref=ts

 

~*Living Life Backwards*~ by Peter Wells ~ Review and Author Interview

~Temptation in Paradise~

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LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS is Peter Wells’ first novel, which focuses on the issues of temptation, hidden desire and obsession, which the hero of the tale struggles to control.

I have been reading Peter’s work on his blog, COUNTING DUCKS, on which he shares his unique take on life through his writing, for over a year now. His work is full of wisdom, witticism, wry and laugh out loud humour, and sometimes profound sadness and over riding joy. His character driven prose delves deep into the human condition, often leading me to stop and think about my own life and that of others. We featured the novel and an excerpt from it earlier this year (scroll down to click on the link to this) and today we are featuring my review and an interview with Peter. You can also check out the purchase links and find out how to connect to the author.  Tina 🙂

Book Blurb

Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye.

Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. He knows the price of doing so, and the value of what he now enjoys. Will that be enough to protect him from desire? Luck is with him: she has no interest in him. But what if circumstances where to change and she looked at her world and him with new eyes. Would he cling to common sense?

With the hand of a surgeon, Peter Wells gently probes the thoughts of the mundane to seek those corners that still long for adventure. Those bits and pieces of each of us that gaze out on the world and find something to settle on and wonder… Tenderly touching the wounded, lonely parts of his character’s hearts, Peter gently leads them to a destiny they never could have imagined on their own. When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed?

My Review

~Temptation in Paradise~

This insightful novel by Peter Wells is full of quirky, real life characters, to whom there is certainly a lot more than meets the eye! The plot is ripe with hidden desire and obsession and also deception and temptation. It is a beautifully written, engrossing and thought provoking read.

In Living Life Backwards, Bill, a long suffering married man, has an obsession with his wife’s younger cousin Misty, an obsession which he does not act on and does his utmost to conceal, for fear that it will destroy all he holds dear. Bill’s back story is one of a singularly loveless upbringing from his widowed father and he is adept at hiding his feelings. At the start of the novel he is already married to Katie, a woman who in stark contrast is gregarious and highly strung.

The couple moved to to be near to Katie’s family and there Bill becomes a pillar of the community. Passion and intimacy are lacking in their marriage and Katie views Bill as reserved and unexciting. However, Bill is mindful that he has at last found acceptance amongst his peers and the love and respect of his wife’s family, who view him as solid, dependable and honest. The following quotation, found early on in the novel, is revealing:

“I kept my dreams to myself and my actions to a minimum. I discovered having a reputation for being boring has advantages………. I used the time provided by her (referring to his wife) absences to live a life of imagination.”

The only chink in his armour is his long standing and secret obsession with Misty, Katie’s younger cousin. He has never acknowledged this attraction to anyone, other than himself, and does his utmost to conceal it and keep it in check. It is an obsession which does not go away and circumstances conspire in a way that Bill becomes tempted as never before………….

Is Misty aware of Bill’s obsession and is she as innocent as she appears? Also how will Bill react? Will he sacrifice all that he holds dear for this younger woman? Once he tastes forbidden fruit there will be no going back and he will have to face the repercussions.

For much of the novel Misty is as much an enigma to the reader as she is to Bill. Her persona is of a beautiful, innocent ice maiden, who appears to effortlessly rebuff the carnal advances of men. Her actions are explained in part by her background and we do get to find out more about her as the plot reaches its denouement – suffice to say that I was as surprised as Bill with the plot developments and her character development! There are many key supporting characters, which include Katie’s parents and also Misty’s. However, the characters of Bernard and Derek and their actions are pivotal to the plot and provide a counter plot in their own right.

The novel has so many different themes and layers. Prima facie it is a romance where the hero is tempted by a younger woman, who happens to be related to his wife, and is in a moral dilemma on how to act when circumstances conspire to bring them together. However, it is far more than this and to me illustrates how we can sometimes become trapped in a certain way of acting by circumstance or individuals and the power we allow them to hold over us. It also illustrates how reality can be manipulated by others.

The novel is narrated in the first person, from the POV of Bill. It is very readable and I felt as if I was in Bill’s head. It delves deep into the psyche of its characters and is not devoid of gentle humour, often self-depreciating and contains moments which blend sadness and hilarity. It is immensely quotable and contains many memorable one liners, an aspect that applies to all Peter’s work.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy a realistic, yet quirky, character driven contemporary romance that focuses on inner turmoil and transformation.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of the novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     Amazon US

Author Interview

1470122_227390787438405_1882580175_n1. When did you start to write and what prompted you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard?

About three years ago. I just woke up one night having one of those half asleep, half- awake sessions, and thought, “I really must get this stuff on paper or it’ll be lost.” The rest is history, or Blogging and writing history anyway.

2. Where do you find the inspiration for your writing?

I go for walks, and during them scenarios or ideas just seem to swim into my head. They pretty much all begin as Blog Posts, though a couple of them have now morphed into books

3. What category or categories do you consider your writing falls into?

I suppose you could call it either ‘general fiction’ or ‘romantic fiction’ because the stories always have some romance and examination of character in them

4. Describe your writing process in three words.

Write every day

5. What have you found is the best thing about being a writer?

Talking to myself without being told to shut up, and being able to explore ideas and scenarios at length. Creating fiction that helps me understand and encapsulate life if you follow me

6. What have you found the most challenging aspects of being a writer?

What happens next.

I really do, “ Make it up as I go along” and as any writer will tell you, the further into a novel you get, the more demanding the characters can be about how the plot should move, and that can get you into difficulties

7. I hear that you have plans for a future novel. Are you able to share anything about it with us?

I’m pleased to say I signed the contract for my next novel last Saturday, and I understand it is now cowering on the desk in the editor’s office. To be fair, she edited ‘Living Life Backwards’, and I could not think more highly of her

8. Have you any advice to anyone who is thinking about becoming an author?

Don’t give up, and write every day. Whatever your level of ability, it will always need polishing and that can only happen if you work at it regularly. You may not write a lot each day, but write something, and then you can play with it, and refine it as you go about your daily business.

Connect with the Author

http://countingducks.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peter-Wells-At-Countingducks/211320669045417

To read our recent post focusing on Living Life Backwards, click here.

*BOOK IN FOCUS* Living Life Backwards, by Peter Wells

~Temptation in Paradise~

Today we are highlighting the novel LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS by Peter Wells. I have been reading Peter’s work on his blog, COUNTING DUCKS, on which he shares his unique take on life through his writing, for over a year now. His work is full of wisdom, witticism and wry humour, often leading me to stop and think about my own life and the human condition in general. In LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS, Peter’s first novel, he focuses on the issues of temptation, hidden desire and obsession, which the hero of the tale struggles to control.

Read on for the book blurb, an excerpt, purchase links and how to contact the author. Also look out for my review of the novel, which I  am looking forward to reading very soon. Tina 🙂

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Book Blurb

Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye.

Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. He knows the price of doing so, and the value of what he now enjoys. Will that be enough to protect him from desire? Luck is with him: she has no interest in him. But what if circumstances where to change and she looked at her world and him with new eyes. Would he cling to common sense?

With the hand of a surgeon, Peter Wells gently probes the thoughts of the mundane to seek those corners that still long for adventure. Those bits and pieces of each of us that gaze out on the world and find something to settle on and wonder… Tenderly touching the wounded, lonely parts of his character’s hearts, Peter gently leads them to a destiny they never could have imagined on their own. When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed?

Excerpt

Here Bill, now introduced to the wider family as the boyfriend and potential husband of Katie, as admired for being so, first claps eyes on Misty, and immediately senses  the danger he would be in if he let his feelings run away with him………

“As I mingled with the party making small talk, a girl walked out of the house, looked around her, and then went up to Mr Potts, as I then called him, and kissed him on the cheek. To say she was attractive does not capture the quality of intoxication I experienced on seeing her, but remember, I was being feted as the new and sober beau of her cousin, and as such, I could admit no interest. When we were finally introduced, I kept my expression as blank as possible but, even at our initial meeting, there was something knowing and even intimate about her, as if she sensed a special connection. I later learnt, from observation that she did that with most men, and how she had remained single was not easy to understand. In hindsight, I think she liked to tease but not to play. She lived at home in a small community with her parents who were over-protective, or I thought so. It was not easy to remain impassive. Clearly, I wanted to know anything I could about her but could show no interest. Riding one horse while admiring another is no easy task – I knew that already – but knowing and understanding are two different things as I learnt to my cost”.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     Amazon US

Connect with the Author

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http://countingducks.wordpress.com/

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