Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book review: Finding Home by Aine Kelley

As part of the blog tour (in my previous blog) I was given a copy of the book in exchange for a review. 

Finding home is the story of Ben and Sam, both broken-hearted, although for different reasons, and it’s a quest to learn to love again.

Since Sam’s boyfriend cheated on her, she’s created a life plan to safeguard her heart: no more men, no more relationships, no more heartbreaks. What she didn’t expect was to fall for her roommate’s brother, by simply talking to him on the phone.

Ben lost his fiancĂ©e in a tragic car accident, which he feels responsible of, and guilt has been crushing him for over two years. Heartbroken, he can’t seem to be able to get over Beth and what they shared, and he’s living life as if he didn’t deserve to love and be loved anymore. Speaking on the phone with his sister’s roommate, Sam, is the only thing that helps bring a smile on his face.

When Ben and Sam finally meet, the attraction between them is instant, although neither of them can understand how this happened.

I loved the chemistry between the two of them and the way they connected straight away; although they’d never met before, I believe it is possible to fall for a person you’ve only talked over the phone to, probably because it’s easier to open your heart to a stranger you’ve never met before.

I liked Ben from the very beginning and I liked reading the story from his point of view too, because it gave me a deeper understanding of his feelings and thoughts. My heart broke for him; the guilt for the accident and for losing Beth is still haunting him, and so is his love for her. At the same time, though, he’s starting to feel something strong for Sam and he doesn’t know whether he can open his heart to her and love again. The struggle lasts throughout the book and it’s what kept me wanting to read on, especially since the prologue starts with Sam waiting for Ben at the airport, hoping he’ll stop her from leaving, and we don’t get to know what happens until almost the end of the book.

I liked most of the story, even though at some point the way they kept changing their minds about whether or not they wanted to be together (especially Ben) drove me crazy. The night of the ball I really wished someone would slap Ben’s handsome face, because he was really acting like a child.

The story was an enjoyable quick read, and there were some emotional parts that touched my heart. However, I could not feel a connection with Sam and I guess this didn’t help me enjoy the story as much as I was hoping to. The story started out strong and hooked me, but then it lost me halfway through it. I kept reading because I really wanted to know if Ben would finally open his heart and let Sam in; I felt he deserved a happy ending after all he’d been through. Ben is what kept me glued to the pages, because he’s a sweetheart and I really liked him.

I’m sorry I cannot rate this book higher, but somehow it didn’t have a “wow factor” for me. It’s a good story and a nice, emotional romance, but I guess not being able to feel a connection with Sam made me lose some of the interest I had when I started reading it.

Nevertheless, even though some parts didn’t work too well for me, I can’t say I didn’t like the story, because it’s nice. I think you should give this book a chance because they writing is good, the plot is strong and quite emotional in some parts, and Ben is a sweetheart. :)

Have you read Finding Home already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book review: Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken

If you haven't already guessed, I suffer from O.C.D. Obsessive Christmas Disorder, which is very unfortunate given the fact that the Christmas spirit in the country where I live is next to nil, especially this year. This is one of the main reasons why I want to leave this place and move somewhere else, where people truly love and feel Christmas in their hearts.

So what do I do to get into the Christmas spirit while I'm still living here? I read Christmas related books, obviously (and sometimes I write them, too - LOL)! I've started reading a few stories and this one I'm writing the review for is one I really wanted to share with you, followers, because it's really the perfect Christmas story to get ready for Christmas. As a bonus, it's free so I really think you should give it a chance.
Unexpected Gifts is the first book in the Castle Mountain Lodge series, but it's a standalone and from the short excerpt of book two, it's clear that each book has its own characters and the only connection is the setting - the Castle Mountain Lodge resort - and some of the characters, basically the people who work in the resort.

The first chapter pulled me in immediately. We meet Andi, a party planner, and Eva, her funny business partner and friend, while they're at work. Andi is having a hard time surviving the festivities, since she's trying to recover from her ex dumping her after she lost their baby. She's broken and not exactly in the mood for Christmas celebration and, as the last straw, her father calls her to inform her last minute that they will not be celebrating Christmas with her, as his new wife has organized a trip to Disneyworld for their 3-year-old twins. In order to avoid spending Christmas alone, brooding over her life and all that she's lost, Andi accepts an invitation that the Castle Mountain Lodge resort sent to their office. After all, spending a few days in a mountain resort, reading a book and enjoying the snow can be quite inviting.

Enters Colin. He's Canadian too, just like Andi, but has been living in the Caribbeans for the last five years, expanding his business and putting it before anything else. Scarred by a serious relationship that didn't end too well, the last thing he wants is to get involved with someone else. Back in Canada, he's determined to enjoy the true Christmas spirit, in the Canadian way: snow, ice-skating, mountains, Christmas trees and all that he's missed over the last five years. So he gets a room in the Castle Mountain Lodge and he gets there just in time to find a desperate Andi talking to the resort manager. Apparently, her reservation hasn't been confirmed and they're completely booked for the holidays so Andi can either go back to the city (in the middle of a snow blizzard) or sleep on a couch until the morning, when roads will be clear.

When Andi turns back to check the weather conditions outside, she meets Colin's stare and something clicks: They know each other. Colin was an old school friend of Andi's ex, Blaine, and they met some time ago, when Blaine took her to the Caribbeans and they had dinner with Colin. Ever the gentleman, Colin offers her to stay in his villa, which has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, so plenty of space without the awkwardness of having to spend time in the same room as a stranger.

Well, as you may have guessed, Andi accepts and everything changes, for both of them. I won't tell you more, though, because it would spoil the fun. You've got to go download it and enjoy their story.
I really liked the story. It's a beautiful romance without the graphic sex scenes, which I've come to realize it's quite hard to find nowadays. I guess this is what helped me enjoy this book so much, apart from the lovely and warm Christmas atmosphere. I know I will sound like a prude, but sometimes the graphic sex scenes that make other readers rate a book 5 stars, are a turn-off for me. They leave nothing to imagination and sometimes distract me from the story and the whole feel. I've come across books where I only wanted to skip ahead because I felt those scenes brought nothing to the story itself and were kind of annoying. I understand the need for them when the story requires them, I've got nothing against that, but reading so many books by indie authors recently I've come to realize that some authors add graphic sex scenes just because. I've even come across some books that mainly had no plot but lots of sex scenes just to keep the word count high - know what I mean? I think that's rather disappointing. Maybe it's because I myself like writing sweet romance, where feelings and emotions are the main theme, not sex. Anyway, this being stated, the chemistry in the story is really strong and the author has a very good way of creating it with clean scenes. I didn't feel the need for sex scenes to feel the connection between Andi and Colin and I really enjoyed reading their story.

I loved the setting. It was described perfectly and I could see the whole resort and the beautiful Canadian landscape right in front of my eyes. It warmed my heart and made me feel as if I was actually in the book. I could almost feel the snow crunch!

The author has a very good way of pulling the reader into the story and keeping the interest up. I couldn't wait to read more and at the same time I didn't want it to be over. This is actually the main reason why I didn't rate this book 5 shamrocks; when it ended, I felt a little disappointed because I wanted to read more about Andi and Colin and I immediately read the excerpt from the second book to understand if I'd be getting more of them. But from what I could read, I'm afraid I won't. Which in a way is good, because I hate cliffhangers, but a few more chapters about them would have been nice. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

Since we are getting closer to Christmas, I recommend you go download this book, like, right now. For one thing, it's free on Amazon and trust me, you will definitely be feeling a little more Christmassy after reading it. And, as far as I'm concerned, I'd really like to get on a plane and go find this Castle Mountain Lodge resort right now; it sounds the perfect place to be (and I wouldn't mind stumbling into Colin, while I'm there!)

Have you read Unexpected Gifts already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book review: Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy

I took part in the blog tour (in my previous blog) and I was given a copy of the book in exchange for a review. I loved this book so much that I thought it right to import the review in the new blog. Enjoy.

I like calling myself a writer, so writing is something that should come easily, right? Well, finding the words to write a review for this book is turning out to be a very hard task because I know that, no matter how hard I try, I'll never in a million years be able to find words to convey the emotions I felt while reading this story. I will not summarize the story in my review because the blurb says it all perfectly, but I will try to put down in words the plethora of emotions that are still swirling around inside of me, even weeks after reading it - and I guess this should give you a clue of how much I loved this book.

Fighting Redemption is so much more than an amazingly beautiful story of true love between soul mates; it's also a story of pain, of broken souls, of war and the spiritual and emotional devastation it brings with it. I don't recall crying so much over a book ever since I read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, and that time it was because it reminded me a little of a personal experience so the tears were sort of understandable. I don't know anyone who's in the army and luckily I've never come face to face with war in my country, but even so, this booked touched my heart in a way no other book had in years (if ever), making me feel every raw emotion, every bit of pain, every heartache and every ounce of love as if I was living it all firsthand. I cried ugly tears; I sobbed over breakfast the morning I decided to read just one chapter before going to work and happened to read the most emotional one; I spent a whole day at work grieving over what I'd just read and couldn't wait to go home and read what happened next and, even though I kept repeating in my mind "get a grip, it's just a book!", the pain just didn't go away. At some point I thought I'd lost my mind, because never in my life had I felt so emotionally spent after reading a book. I wasn't sure what a "book hangover" was before; now I know I'm having one, a really bad one may I add. This book has earned the top spot in my Kindle and it is definitely one I will love to read again and again and again...

The writing is brilliant and very emotional. Kate's style pulls you in from the very beginning and the way she weaves sentences and plays with words creates something so powerful it keeps you glued to the pages and captures your heart and soul. I understood immediately after reading the prologue that I was going to embark on an emotional journey, a real rollercoaster ride - and it turned out I was right. I laughed and cried; I smiled and grieved; I sighed, swooned, gasped with surprise and cringed with fear. Most of all, though, I truly felt the love throughout the book, the real thread that keeps the whole story together. And this is just how good Kate's writing is. No other author, apart from my very favorite ones (Nicholas Sparks and Rosamunde Pilcher) had ever pulled me into a story so well.

Now, about the characters. Are they fictional at all? They feel so real I had to keep reminding myself they don't exist in real life. I got so attached to all of them that when I finished the book I missed them and wanted to start it all over again just to spend a little more time with them. That's just how crazy I am, folks! Fin is the kind of girl everyone would want as their best friend. I personally would. Her clumsiness made me smile and at times even laugh out loud. She's such a great character; a strong, determined heroine with a heart full of love for her brother and Ryan. Ryan. Aww, Ryan Kendall! He is the quintessential book boyfriend. If you've read any of my reviews, you'll know I don't like alpha male or bossy heroes, but I couldn't help loving Ryan from the very start. Although at times he seems a little bossy with Fin, it's just because he wants her to be happy and he selflessly denies his own happiness just so she can have the kind of life and love she deserves. He's a sweetheart, a real babe and he's SO DAMN HOT! Excuse my language. :) He's definitely earned the top spot in my "book boyfriends I wish were real" chart. I truly envied Fin, and suffered with her when Ryan left to war; I shared her pain and her happiness; I prayed for him to stay safe and come back home to her. I rooted for them to have the happy ending they deserved, and believe me, if I didn't get a heart attack while reading this book, with all the unexpected twists and heart wrenching scenes, I'm safe to say I'll probably never get one in my life. :) Another important character in the story, whom I really loved, is Jake, Fin's brother. He's the brother I would have wanted in my life; he's funny and loving, and I loved his strong friendship with Ryan and how they cared about each other like brothers. There's a major "ugly tears" scene featuring Jake, but I won't tell you more than this. :) Rachael and Kyle are great side characters, too. Kyle is so funny and I'm happy he gets to play a rather important part in the second half of the book because I really liked him. I would actually love if he got a whole book about himself (and maybe get together with Rachael? Kate, if you're reading this, maybe this could be an idea for another book? Just saying...)

Is there a happy ending? Will Ryan and Jake come home safe from Afghanistan? Will Fin and Ryan live happily ever after? Sorry, I can't tell you that; you'll have to buy the book and find out for yourselves but trust me when I say you'll be glad you did.

This book deserves to be read and most importantly to be loved because it is one of the most heart-warming, tear-jerking and best written books I've read in years, especially by an indie author. There's only one warning before you start reading: Be ready to go around the house like a zombie with red, puffy eyes and a heavy heart after you've read it; but don't let this get you down, because for every single tear you'll shed, another stronger and happier emotion will soon capture your heart and bring a smile to your face. I guess this book should come with the "May cause addiction" warning. That's just how good it is.
As for my rating, well, there aren't just enough stars in the chart to rate Fighting Redemption. If I could, I would rate it a million stars but, since I can't, I guess I'll have to stick to five brilliant, freaking awesome shamrocks.

My favorite quotes (I didn't include the ones that are in the teasers, and which I absolutely LOVED):
"I have a thick skin, baby" he told her, his wide shoulders crowding her back against the cool tiles, "but you're under it. You're buried in there so deep it's like I was born with you in my soul."
"When I'm near you I'm consumed by you-your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we've never been together, you've always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you'll still be mine."
"Every piece of me is in her." He placed his palm flat on her chest, feeling her heart beat hard and steady beneath his fingers. He closed his eyes briefly at the beauty of it. "My breath, my heart, my life. I won't ever leave you if you keep that safe inside of you."
"You're all I see. Nothing holds more beauty in my eyes than you do. No one will ever love you the way I do."

Have you read Fighting Redemption already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought about it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blog tour: Disclosure Of The Heart by Mary Whitney

Disclosure of the Heart Blog Tour Banner

Sixteen years is a long time to wait for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?


author pic

Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn't cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she's spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.

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As part of the blog tour, I’m pleased to host in my Indie Author Interview Corner a romance author. I’m particularly happy to host her today, since I really loved her book and I can’t wait to start recommending it to everyone I know. Dear readers, please welcome Mary Whitney, author of “Disclosure of the Heart”.

Hello Mary! Welcome to Roberta’s Dreamworld and thank you for your time. First of all, tell us something about yourself, both as a writer and as a person.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! Writing has been a significant portion of all of my jobs, but my work has been a world away from romance.

How/when did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
When I started reading online fiction, I thought, “Hey, maybe I could do that.” Then I gave it a shot.

Let’s speak about your latest release, Disclosure Of The Heart. Can you tell my readers a little about the book?
As the sequel to Beside Your Heart, it’s set 16 years later in Washington, DC. Both Nicki and Adam are now adults, accomplished in their professions, and tied to other people. Is there a flame that flickers for both of them from their time together in high school?

How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?
My main goal for both of these characters was that their actions be realistically flawed. I know many people want to always be able to root for their leads, but I like a more complex story. No one I know is perfect, and we all make mistakes. We all can hurt the people we love, both by what’s done and said. I want to see characters rise above those mistakes and move on with deeper relationships because of them.

Although this works well as a standalone, there’s a previous book, Beside Your Heart, which tells us about Nicki and Adam as teenagers. I know there’s a third book in the series, am I right? Can you tell us what it’ll be about and when you’re planning to release it? (I honestly can’t wait to read more about Nicki and Adam!)
Adam’s story, Forever Your Heart, comes out next spring. It’s a peek into his past, the years he was apart from Nicki, their story together, and then into their future post Disclosure of the Heart.

I’m Italian so whenever I want to use English or American slang I always have to research. Adam is from England, so I’m a little curious: Did someone help you with the British slang or were you familiar with it?
Oh you bet! I had several Brits help, including my editor who is an ex-pat living in London.

If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?
Nuanced, heartfelt, and smart

Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?
I love Louise Erdrich, who doesn’t write romance, but I love her complex characters.

What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing?
I love to cook and garden. I name my favorite plants and refer to all my plants as “he” and “she.” I talk about how they’re doing, so I’m sort of making stories all the time.

As a writer do you get support from your family and friends?
My husband and friends are very supportive, even if they think it’s a little crazy.

What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?
I just want to write the stories I have in me. Hopefully, some people will like reading them.

You published through Omnific Publishing. I self-published through Amazon and Smashwords. What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing vs. going through a publisher, even though not a traditional one? Would you recommend it?
I have all the admiration in the world for self-published authors. I’ve done it, but I think it’s extremely difficult, especially if you’re selling places in addition to Amazon. I’ve never been a good project manager, and I think you need to have those skills in order to produce a book. Going with a publisher for me means I don’t have to worry about getting the words off my laptop and onto a book on your kindle. I also really enjoy working on a team, so it’s nice to have the support of others who are working for your book.

Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?
My storylines are fresh, and my characters are smart. Hopefully, they’ll make you think, laugh, and maybe cry a little.

I’ve been waiting impatiently to share my review with the world of book lovers, since I read the arc of this book a few weeks ago but was not supposed to post the review until my blog tour stop. I’m really glad the day has finally come and I don’t know if I’ll be able to put down in words how much I loved this book; if I have to be honest, I’m a little surprised myself, but this story really touched my heart and I hope I’ll be able to convey my feelings.

I started this book on a Sunday morning and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end. It doesn’t happen often that I get so engrossed in a story I don’t want to do anything else but finish the book, but that’s what happened with this one. I guess this gives you a clue of how much I loved it, in case my review doesn’t.

Disclosure Of The Heart works well as a standalone, but it’s actually the sequel to Beside Your Heart (read my review here). It’s the story of Nicki and Adam, who are now adults and living two successful lives in two different continents, sixteen years after their break-up in high school.

Nicole works as the deputy press secretary of the newly elected president of the United States while Adam is a famous reporter for the BBC. Once he learns that Nicole will be working at the White House, he asks to be assigned to Washington as the official BBC correspondent there; he’s never really gotten over his love for Nicole and he hopes he’ll be able to win her heart back. That’s when all the drama starts because Nicole hasn’t gotten over him either and she knows she has to push him away if she wants to avoid another major heartbreak.

Like Beside Your Heart, the story is told in Nicki’s POV but I was happy to discover that the last chapter, just like in the previous book, is told in Adam’s.

Nicole has grown so much since the previous book – which is quite obvious, since sixteen years have passed – and at first it’s hard to recognize the shy, insecure girl in this new self-confident, career-oriented woman. As soon as Adam enters the scene though, the 17-year-old Nicki comes back and it’s like meeting an old friend. There she is, working at the White House for the president of the United States and still feeling giddy when Adam looks at her. But how can you blame her, when the cause of her emotional upheaval is Adam Kincaid!

I didn’t know I would ever fall for a Brit, but boy did I fall for Adam! He was a super cute character in Beside Your Heart and I really liked him back when he was a 17-year-old real English gentleman; in Disclosure Of The Heart Adam has turned into a super hot Englishman, who’s willing to put his high school sweetheart before everything else, including his successful career. It was very easy to like the 17-year-old English kid and it’s basically impossible not to LOVE 33-year-old Adam. He’s simply adorable and so sexy he made me swoon with every comment he made.

I loved that their cute banter was back, even after being apart for so long. I loved that they could still talk the way they did when they were seventeen, as if time hadn’t gone by at all. Their connection is still so strong I found my heart aching at the thought of how many years they’d lost, while they could’ve been together; but then again, the time probably wasn’t right and things wouldn’t have worked out if they’d tried too hard to make it work. Now they’re adults, they both know what they want from life and from love and guess what is it they want?

No, I won’t give away the ending, but if you know me, I guess you’ll understand from my rating that there must be a happy ending – but not without a few obstacles on their way, which made the whole book an even more compelling read.

Some of the side characters from the first book are back – YAY! :) – so we get to meet an older Sylvia (Adam’s sister) who’s still just as funny as she was in the first book, as well as Lisa (Nicki’s best friend) and David (Adam’s sexy cousin) and there are a few very entertaining scenes starring them.

There’s really no need for me to say how good the writing is; if you give this book a chance, you’ll see it yourself. The dialogues are very well written and the characters feel so real I felt as if they were old friends of mine. I felt a real connection with them and it’s not often that this happens when I read a book so, well, kudos to the author for that.

I know I may have found a new favorite author in Mary Whitney and I can’t wait to read more from her.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book review: Beside Your Heart by Mary Whitney

I received an arc for this book since I signed up to host the tour for the following book, Disclosure Of The Heart, but I’m pleased to write a review for the first book even though it wasn’t required.

The blurb was quite intriguing but I got a little confused halfway through the book, when I realized that it was turning out to be a coming of age story rather than an adult contemporary, although it did start when the heroine, Nicki, is in her early twenties. Nevertheless, I was hooked from the second chapter – that’s when the story goes back to their teens – and didn’t mind at all that 99% of the book was between two teenagers even though I was expecting to read an adult or at least a new adult romance.

Beside Your Heart is a sweet, first love story between Nicole (Nicki) Johnson, a 17-year-old girl who’s recently survived a tragic car accident in which she’s been literally left scarred for life, both physically and emotionally (her 13-year-old sister died in the accident), and Adam Kincaid, an English teenager who’s spending a year in Texas with his family and is therefore attending the same school as Nicole.

The book opens with Nicki being at work late one night and while she’s scrolling down the list of voters for the presidential campaign of her boss, she finds a name that reminds her of her first love, the boy she used to date in high school and whom she hasn’t seen or talked to in over six years. Unable to resist the temptation, although she knows it’ll only hurt her, she decides to google his name and lots of information, as well as pictures of him with another woman, come up. After a phone call with her friend Lisa, who’s just come back from a trip to Europe, where she ended up meeting Adam too, we’re taken back in time, back to their junior year in high school, when Nicki started crushing badly on the cute English boy with rusty hair and expressive brown eyes – and aw, that cute accent that makes her heart flutter every time he speaks to her. Problem is, he’s got a girlfriend – a cheerleader nonetheless, and Nicki’s got a big baggage of emotional pain, not to mention the scars that cover her body, so she knows she doesn’t stand a chance against her. She can only suffer in silence and dream about him, while trying to treat him like a normal school friend. Until Adam starts getting a little too close and, when he dumps his girlfriend, she starts hoping she could have a chance at happiness. As they start dating, Nicki knows her life will never be the same; she’s not only found a loving boyfriend, but a true friend with whom she can open up and say things about her recent tragedy she hasn’t been able to share with anyone else. Their bond grows stronger and friendship evolves into true love – but time is against them. Adam is bound to leave as soon as school ends and, even though he says he loves her and wants to make things work, Nicki decides it’s best to break it off and get on with their lives separately. She knows she’ll never get over him but she’s trying to protect herself and her fragile heart by pretending nothing ever happened.

Will she be able to? Well, you won’t get to know it in this book because, the moment Adam leaves Texas (that was one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the book) we’re back to the present day, sixteen years later in 2009 and the chapter is in Adam’s POV. An adult and famous reporter for the BBC, he asked to be moved to Washington D.C. as the official BBC correspondent at the White House. Why? Because Nicole Johnson is now a deputy press secretary for the newly elected president of the United States. Am I giving away the ending? Nope, because this is how it ends.

Major cliffhanger? Yes, definitely. But it’ll make you want to read the next book, unlike other books I’ve recently read in which the cliffhanger made me want to throw my Kindle.

This has been an extremely enjoyable read. Although I was expecting an adult romance, I was pleasantly surprised by the story. It was highly emotional, at times heartbreaking and, even though I couldn’t put it down, at times I had to force myself to switch off my Kindle because I was so emotionally involved it almost hurt. All through the book the emotions, especially the pain Nicki feels because of her sister’s death, are so strong and every now and then I had to swallow the lump in my throat. Luckily, there were also happy moments, funny remarks and banter between Adam and Nicki, as well as sweet, romantic moments that warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face.

Nicki is a lovely character. Even though at times she drove me crazy (especially when she tried to push Adam away) I tried to remember what it’s like to be seventeen and I understood why she acted like that, especially considering the terrible loss she’d experienced. She’s a fragile, broken girl but when Adam walks into her life, he helps her to get out of the shell and she finds strength in him.

Adam is the perfect English gentleman. He’s super cute and I really loved him. The last few chapters were heartbreaking and the last scene, right before he leaves, brought me close to tears. I loved reading the last chapter in his point of view because it gave me an insight into his feelings for Nicki, even though they were pretty clear throughout the book, from the way he acted with her.

You probably know I want books to have a happy ending, so I was a little hurt that they parted ways and never looked back, but I knew there would be another book so I was pretty confident (actually, hopeful) that I’d be getting my happy ending eventually.

The side characters, Lisa and Rachel (Nicki’s best friends) and Sylvia (Adam’s little sister) were great; I loved their interactions, especially the banter between Adam and Sylvia. She’s a cute, funny character and I wish she’d played a bigger part in the story.

The writing flows smoothly and the dialogues feel real – I loved the use of the British slang; I could almost hear Adam speak in his impeccable, a little posh, British accent. After reading so many books by American authors recently, it was nice to read a few very British “bloody” here and there. :-)

I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to readers who love highly emotional first love romance, even though there’s no happy ending – yet (well, at least I hope there is one in the next book, or I’ll be heartbroken!)

Have you read Beside Your Heart already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. 
Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book review: Wait for you by J. Lynn

I read this book a few months ago and have just realized I never wrote a review on my blog, although I did write one on Goodreads and Amazon. Shame on me! So here it is.

Ever since buying a Kindle I’ve discovered some amazing books and most of the times totally by chance. The possibility to download a sample before buying the complete book is one of the best features Amazon offers so, even though I’d heard a lot of good reviews about his book, I decided to download the sample first and decide for myself. Needless to say, I bought the ebook as soon as I reached the end of the sample; I didn’t even stop to think about whether I should or shouldn’t buy it: I one-clicked right away.

Wait For You is a romance with a great amount of drama. Avery is a girl who’s running away from a painful event in her past and from a town where gossip and mean looks caused her to severely hurt herself. In order to start anew in a place where nobody knows who she is or what happened to her, she leaves Texas to move to attend college in West Virginia. Everything seems to be going fine until she literally collides with Cameron Hamilton, high school heartbreaker, and her world starts spinning. When she eventually finds out that he lives in her same building and on her same floor, things get complicated. Cam’s not used to getting “no” for an answer and he has his mind set on Avery, while all she wants is to stay away from people and keep a low profile. Her secrets haunt her and she can’t tell him her story because she’s scared he’ll run away. So she pushes him away and tries to make him think she’s not interested in him but he does everything in his power (including baking some great cookies) to break through her walls.

Avery is a great heroine and there’s a lot of growth throughout the book. When we first meet her, she’s a broken girl who’s trying to hide from the world but as soon as Cam enters the scene and her world, things start to change. It’s a slow process, it doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it’ll make you want to scream, but by the end of the book Avery is much stronger than she was at the beginning.

Cam. I have seriously been daydreaming about him for days after I finished the book. When I read the sample, he had me at “sweetheart”, just like most of the girls who’ve read this book. And the scene with Raphael the turtle? I was at work and couldn’t stop seeing images of him standing outside his apartment door holding a turtle. You should read the book just for that. The first thing I did when I went home that night was one-click and buy the book. I simply HAD to read more about him. He’s handsome (blue eyes, dark hair – YAY!), funny, a little cocky and… he bakes cookies! I mean, how cool is a guy who bakes cookies to win the heart of a girl he’s fallen for?

The book has great dialogue; I loved their banter and highlighted most of it (I rarely highlight on my Kindle but I have half this book highlighted). Cam made me laugh out loud most of the time and even days after I finished the book I had to go back and re-read the parts I’d highlighted – and still laughed.

The chemistry between them is at WOW levels. I’m happy they didn’t fall head over heels in chapter one and that it took them a while to get together. They start off being friends, even though the pull between them is quite tangible, and once Avery pulls down her walls well, they can’t keep their hands off each other. It gets pretty hot at some point and a little graphic too, just so you know, but it definitely didn’t bother me like other books I recently read and that only earned two or three stars at the most because it was just too much.

Wait For You is a very emotional read, a beautiful story of love and trust, with a very hot hero as a bonus. Now I can’t wait to read Trust In Me, the story told in Cam’s point of view.

Would I recommend this book? Hell, yeah!

Have you read Wait For You already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.
Friday, October 18, 2013

Book review: HIM by Carey Heywood

As a host for the release event of HER (the second book in the series) on October 26th, I was provided a copy of HIM as well and, although this wasn't required, I'm happy to write a review for this book so other people have a chance to discover it. I am so glad I signed up for the tour because I probably wouldn't have discovered it otherwise. Thank you, Carey Heywood!

HIM is a beautiful and sweet story of best friends falling in love with each other (I guess you know how dear this particular theme is to me) as well as a story of second chances.

It is the story of Sarah Miller (aka Miller Lite - I loved the nickname Will used for Sarah!) and William "Will" Price, and it's told in Sarah's POV. The book opens with Sarah getting ready to go to her brother's wedding back home in Atlanta. She's now living in Colorado with her friend Sawyer (who's a girl, just so you know) and hasn't been home in a while, trying to avoid the one person she ran away from seven years before, soon after graduation. As fate would have it, the guy she's running away from, the HIM in the title, is on her same plane, just a row away from her. As they reconnect after seven years of not talking to each other, it's plain that Sarah never got over him in the first place. Her heart still aches though and she knows she cannot let him get back into her life or into her heart - she simply has to get through this week and go back to Colorado, where her new home and her successful business are.

It'll be a tough week for Sarah; being back home where she spent many a happy day with Will, where everywhere she looks she is hit by a happy memory of the two of them is heartbreaking. We get to share those memories through a very clever technique used by the author: We meet Sarah and Will in the present day, but every other chapter we are taken into their past and see how their friendship evolved. Although you may think this technique could be confusing (going back and forth from present to past) I loved it and didn't find it distracting in the least. As a matter of fact, it helped get to know the characters better and understand how deep their feelings were at the time. I got really attached to both characters: I laughed with them, cried with them, hurt with them. I don't think it would've been possible to grow so fond of both of them without knowing their past and I guess if the author had started telling the story from their adolescence it wouldn't just have had the same impact.

The characters are very relatable and feel real; with their flaws and good traits you can't help but feel a connection with them.
Sarah grows a lot; from the shy and insecure teenager, she turns into a successful business woman, determined not to let the man who broke her heart weave his spell on her. She can't deny the attraction she still feels for him though, so it'll take all of her strength to keep her distance.
At times I really wanted to shake her and scream at her to give him a chance to explain, since she never did; she ran away and never turned back (Why? Well, I can't really tell you or I'll spoil the fun). Then again, I tried to put myself in her shoes, tried to feel the way an eighteen-year-old girl would and I sort of understood why she never confronted him. So I hurt with her and shared her heartbreak while wishing she'd get her happy ending eventually.

Now, Will. What can I say about him other than: I LOVE HIM? He enters the story in chapter two and he's held my heart in his hands ever since. He's THE Book Boyfriend with capital Bs. He's handsome, sweet, funny and loving. What more can a girl wish for? I loved the way he cared about Sarah, how he always wanted the best for her, how he couldn't be away from her when they were teenagers. When he enters the story in the present day, you can't help loving him. He's funny, a little cocky at times, and still so in love with Sarah that it really broke my heart every time she pushed him away. He made me laugh, swoon, brought me close to tears and made me smile again. He's just the perfect Prince Charming. At last, a hero without anger issues, drug addictions, dominant behavior; just a romantic, down-to-earth and handsome-as-hell guy who's still madly in love with his high school sweetheart and would do anything to bring her back into his life. Isn't that super sweet?
He's the reason you should give this book a chance. No matter if you don't like friends to lovers' stories or second chance romance - you'll end up loving this book just because of HIM.

Although this is Sarah and Will's story, the side characters also have important parts in the story and I really enjoyed reading about them (Sawyer and Brian in particular).

There are sex scenes but unlike other romance books I've read lately that get very descriptive and graphic to try and catch the reader's attention, the author managed to create the chemistry without necessarily needing to be graphic. The sex scenes in this book were sweet and romantic but you could still feel the heat between them and I really liked that.

If I have to find one flaw to explain why I didn't rate it 5 shamrocks is that some parts were a bit too descriptive and slowed the story down a little. Maybe it was because I wanted to see what was going to happen between them and I couldn't wait, but I felt some parts weren't really necessary for the story (one of these parts was the chapter about Jared; since he didn't really play an important role in the story afterwards, I think the whole chapter could've been cut down a little, maybe stressing the fact that they moved to Colorado because Sawyer wanted to be near the guy she liked, rather than telling all the detailed story of what they did when they stayed there).

Even so, I really really enjoyed this book and I would surely recommend it to readers who love a nice, romantic story with just a little bit of drama and a happy ending.

PS: at the time of writing I've already finished reading HER (the story told in Will's POV) but I won't be posting the review until the release day event, so stay tuned!


Have you read “HIM” already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.
Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book review: Emancipating Andie - by Priscilla Glenn

Have you ever finished reading a book and wanted to start it all over again?Have you ever read a book that’s touched your heart in such a way that even days after reading it you’re still thinking about it?

If you have, well, you know how I’m feeling right now, after reading Emancipating Andie by Priscilla Glenn. I’d fallen in love with the author’s debut novel Back To You (check out my review) and I’d been looking forward to reading more from her; although I didn’t want to cheat on Red & Del (the main characters in the book), I was looking forward to getting to know Andie and Chase.

I didn’t know what to expect, other than knowing I would surely like this book. When you like an author’s writing and the ability to stir emotions inside your heart only using words, you pretty much know whatever that author will write will be good.

I’ll be honest: before starting this book I was afraid. Yes, I was afraid I would be comparing it to Back To You, and I would end up being disappointed. I’m so glad I was wrong! These two books are totally different and they’re both wonderful in their own special way, with their own different characters and themes.
The story hooked me from the first chapter, ever since Andie and Chase first met in a wine cellar at an engagement party Andie had gone with her boyfriend, Colin. While snooping around the house she gets accidentally stuck in a wine cellar with the most annoying and sarcastic guy ever–yes, I'm talking about Chase–who also happens to be a close friend of Colin’s. I rolled my eyes and laughed during most of their banter. :-)

Fast forward seventeen months.

Colin and Andie have been invited to the wedding (in Florida) but when Colin has to leave a little earlier to take part in the preparations, Andie is left behind to drive down to Florida on her own. When Colin informs her that his friend Chase will be driving with her since he couldn’t find a flight to Florida, Andie knows her happy little dream of some quiet “me time” will probably turn into a nightmare. What she isn’t expecting though, is that this two-day road trip will make her change her mind about Chase and, most importantly, it will change her life forever.

Anyway, this is only a very quick summary of the story, because if I said more I’d spoil it for you but, trust me on this, it’s an amazing story.

Now, about the characters.

Well, it is impossible not to like Chase, so it goes without saying I fell for him ever since he entered the story. I loved him in the wine cellar, and I loved him even more as the story moved on. He’s so funny, a little wiseass sometimes, and he makes you want to scream and roll your eyes most of the times–but he’s gorgeous, so he’s easily forgiven. :-) Seriously though, the more I got to know him and see his real personality, the more I loved him. I love the author’s ability to create characters that are real and totally relatable, and at the same time they have so many different layers but, just like it happened with Del in Back To You, only the heroine gets to see the deepest layer, the one that wraps around the hero’s heart–and so does the reader, of course. And that’s when you fall in love with the hero, in spite of his flaws and his persona, because you know there’s so much more than what meets the eye.

At long last we get a hero that’s not a badass alpha male with drug and alcohol issues, who enjoys stomping all over women’s hearts just because. Chase is gorgeous in every imaginable way, and I’m so glad there are still authors who think the way I do: Prince Charming is still trendy, after all! :-)

Now, Andie. I rarely have much to say about the heroine and I don’t always relate to her–most of the times the heroine annoys me or I’m simply plain jealous because she gets the hero and her happily ever after and I’m left behind with a broken heart and dreamy eyes.I liked Andie from the very start. I was her. I felt her fears, her pain, her emotions and at times I wished I could jump into the book and hug her.
Andie is an aspiring writer–that’s one of the things that helped me relate to her.
All of her life she’s had dreams and aspirations, but she’s always followed her mother’s advice: “Love with your head, and you’ll be safe. Love with anything else, you find yourself in big trouble.” So she lives her life by the rules, never straying, always playing safe–that’s another thing we have in common. Colin makes her feel safe, and she thinks that’s what she wants, that he’s the perfect boyfriend for her. Until she meets Chase, and he opens her eyes to a whole new world, a world of spontaneity, adventure, freedom to be and do what you want, and her happy little bubble bursts.
I was Andie; in every single page of this book I saw things through her eyes, and when she got her happily ever after I suddenly felt as if I’d had it too. It’s been a while since a book has managed to capture my heart and touch my soul in such a way that I felt lost when I finished it.

The beautiful, flawless and strongly emotional writing hooked me from the beginning and kept me glued to the pages all through the book (and I was happy I was off work, so I didn’t have to put it down!). It kindled so many different emotions inside me that even now, three days after finishing the book, my heart still warms up if I think of it. This book has earned a VIP spot on my shelves (together with Back To You) and I will definitely re-read it.

Emancipating Andie is not only a romance novel, but it’s also a story about getting over fears and standing up for your dreams and aspirations. To live life the way you want to and not the way others expect you to. There’s a beautiful sentence by Dr. Seuss that Chase tells Andie while they’re in the car, and I think this summarizes the concept pretty well: “Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. I think this will become my motto from now on.
So yes, Emancipating Andie is about a beautiful love story, but it’s also about finding your real self and taking off the mask, to finally be who you want to be.

Follow my advice and go grab a copy. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book review - Their Newborn Gift by Nikki Logan

I don’t know how long this book has been in my Kindle. Their Newborn Gift belongs to a group of accidentally downloaded free books I’d forgotten about but that I will definitely keep and read again.

Since owning a Kindle I’ve mainly read books set in the US or in Canada, so when I read that this novel was set in Australia I have to admit I was quite intrigued. I’ve learned from experience never to build my expectations too high about new authors (new for me) if I don’t want to get disappointed, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the story.

By the end of chapter one I was totally hooked, desperate to know more and already falling for Reilly, the main character. When we first meet him, the first impression is: another player, and a rich one on top of it all–what a boring clichĂ©. But as we get to know him better, the layers start falling, and little by little we get to see his heart and his personality, and it’s easy to understand why Lea fell for him in the first place.

It all started as a one-night stand (well, it was more like a one-full-day stand from what we’re told) and it resulted in an unwanted pregnancy, which Lea kept well hidden from Reilly, not wanting to ever meet him again. It’s only when their five-year-old daughter’s life is in danger because of a disease that’s slowly killing her, that Lea finds herself forced to reveal the secret to the man she’d never really forgotten but whom she’d tried to keep away from. The only way to save their daughter is through stem cells taken from the umbilical chord of a sibling, so Lea needs to have another baby from Reilly if she wants to save Molly. When Reilly is confronted with unexpected fatherhood and Lea’s request he’s obviously upset, and we get to see the worst part of him. He acts like a selfish jerk (I won’t tell you why, as it would spoil the fun of reading the story) and it’s no wonder that Lea doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. But as the three of them start interacting, and we get to witness some cute family moments, we also start to understand more about him and more about Lea’s past and her choice of keeping the baby a secret, and it all adds up in the end.

Is there a happy ending? Well, yes, there is a happy ending–if you’ve started to understand me, you know I’m a sucker for romance and happy endings, so I wouldn’t be writing this review if I hadn’t gotten my Happily Ever After. But in this book there is so much more than just the happy ending; the journey to get there is full of angst, anger, sadness, regrets, happy moments, in short of a big palette of emotions that will capture your heart all the way till the last page.

The bonus in all this is that the tangible chemistry between the two characters is achieved without any sex scenes. We’re never told what happened in that motel room five years before, and apart from a couple of passionate kisses, we don’t get to read more. But the chemistry between them is so strong that it doesn’t need to be described through graphic scenes. It’s all in the feelings and in the way they act, and this is such relief after this new fashion of putting steamy and very detailed sex scenes in a romance novel, just to keep the reader glued to the pages.

I might be the odd one, but after recently reading two novels with great reviews, where most of the book was about how much sex the two main characters had (and they did have a lot!), with very detailed descriptions as a bonus (honestly, could I care less about every single detail?) I’ve started wondering when the word “romance” became associated with “steamy sex”. I don’t recall reading steamy sex scenes in either Rosamunde Pilcher’s or Nicholas Sparks’ books, but I still loved those books to bits so I really don’t get why a good romance book can’t just be...romantic.

Anyway, I’m digressing here (although I’d really love to hear your opinion on this, because I know I sound like a prude right now, but I’m still the old-fashioned type of reader who likes a sweet, romantic story more than a steamy, sexy one, so I’d like to know if anyone out there shares my opinion on this). Going back to the story, like I said this is a sweet, emotional book, so if you like a good (clean) romance that will capture your heart and occasionally bring tears to your eyes, I think this might be the book you should pick as your next read.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book review: The Selkie Enchantress - by Sophie Moss

If you’ve read my review of “The Selkie Spell” you already know how much I enjoyed this book and the writing by this new author I’ve recently discovered. When I bought “The Selkie Enchantress”, book number 2 in The Selkie Trilogy, I was pretty sure I’d end up liking this one too. Well, it turns out I loved this book even more than the first one and I gave it 5 well deserved stars on Goodreads and Amazon.

In the first book the two main characters, Tara and Dominic fell in love and their romance was very passionate, sudden and intense; in this one the romance between Liam and Caitlin was way sweeter, something that bloomed years before, when they were still teenagers but it somehow ended and only friendship remained. Until Tara and Dominic’s wedding, when they rediscover their feelings and decide to give it a try again. But if you think their newfound relationship is a bed of roses, well you’re wrong. They'll have to earn their happy ending!

The book opens with Liam coming home to Caitlin for their first date, but who does he meet on the ferry home? A Selkie who wants to steal him away from Caitlin and his family, of course! Travelling with her young son, Nuala pretends to be a song writer from Limerick who’s coming to Seal Island on a short getaway, but things get complicated even before they manage to set foot on Seal Island. Magic blends into reality, myth and past mix with present as the lives of the peaceful islanders are turned upside-down by the newcomer’s and her son’s presence. Unexpected twists and revelations will keep you on the edge of your seat, making it impossible to stop reading (make sure you’ve stocked up on water and food before you start reading); sweet romance and heart-warming scenes will make your heart melt. As you reach the end and you think you had it all figured out, another twist will make your jaw drop, while a cliffhanger ending will make you start counting the days till the release of the next book.

All the characters from The Selkie Spell are back, so you’ll get to read more about Tara and Dominic, about Kelsey, and about Sam and Glenna too (who’ll be the stars in the next and last book of the trilogy, "The Selkie Sourceress").

I loved this book and I felt very close to both Caitlin and Liam; I found myself more than once wishing I were in Caitlin’s shoes because Liam is definitely my kind of man – sorry, Dominic, you’ve been replaced by your little brother! All through the book I felt as if I were living on Seal Island, I could almost hear the waves crashing and smell the sea air, I could feel the pain and fear Caitlin was feeling.

This author has a great ability to depict the characters’ feelings and emotions, as well as to describe the setting and making you actually see it and feel it. Okay, maybe it’s because I’m Ireland-holic so the setting has a special meaning to me and is particularly close to my heart, but I know I will be reading these books again some time in the near future, whenever I feel a little nostalgia creeping up and I need to be in Ireland for a while, if only in a daydream.

But you don’t need to be Ireland-holic to love these books, especially this one. If you’re looking for a sweet romance, a strong storyline, suspense, angst and a little magic, then this is the book you should be reading.

Have you read “The Selkie Enchantress” already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book review: Back to you - by Priscilla Glenn

Friends to lovers theme is the theme of my debut novel so it's no wonder I would want to read a novel centered around this theme. I discovered this book on Goodreads and I put it on my to-read shelf, waiting for a chance to buy it and read it, but there was a long queue of books I'd already downloaded, so I had almost forgotten about it. Then I won a contest where I could choose an ebook I wanted to read, and I thought I'd pick this one. It turns out this has been the smartest choice in months.

This book is absolutely amazing; it's heartwarming, romantic, passionate, heartbreaking, funny all in one. I sort of knew I was going to like it, because like I said, I love the best friends to lovers theme, but I didn't expect to LOVE it like I did. It is so beautifully and well written; emotions are described in such a perfect way that they are almost tangible; characters feel so real that I ended up feeling happy when they were, sad when they were and in love when they were, and all this is achieved without the use of first person point of view, which is brilliant.

Lauren Moore and Michael Delaney (a.k.a. Del) have been best friends in high school; but after Michael graduated, he left their hometown and moved to New York, away from his past and from Lauren too. Eight years later they meet again, when he brings his daughter to the day care where Lauren works, and both their lives are turned upside-down. Feelings that have been carefully suppressed to avoid the pain quickly resurface, and although they try to convince themselves that they've drifted apart and things can't go back to how they were back then, they know what they shared is still burning in their hearts. I won't tell you more, because that would be spoiling the fun. You simply have to read it!

The story is set in the present day in 2011/2012, but through flashbacks we are taken back to their high school years and we get to see how their friendship started and grew. This helped feel a stronger connection with the characters, and understand their present. I actually loved this technique because it gave the right amount of back story, to help understand their past, but this skipping back and forth was never boring or confusing. It was brilliant.

Do I need to say that I fell head over heels in love with the male character, Michael Delaney? Maybe I don't. Michael Delaney isn't Prince Charming: He's the school badass, always getting kicked out of school for getting in trouble, but as I read his whole story, through flashbacks that helped to understand what he'd gone through in his childhood, I couldn't help but feel strongly for him. It wasn't his fault if he was acting like a jerk, trying to keep up his bad boy reputation: He'd been hurt, and he was only trying to cope with the pain, but he didn't know any other way to do it. I loved him from the moment he stood up for Lauren in class, and from the moment he left her that note in her locker. There were moments when I felt the need to slap him, especially in the high school descriptions, and moments when I wanted to jump into the book and hug him. In spite of his troubled past and his bad choices, he managed to turn into a hard-working, responsible man and loving father, and little by little we get to read about how much love he has inside his heart, which makes him even more adorable.

Lauren is a wonderful heroine. She's smart, passionate, strong and loving. When she sees Michael for the first time, she knows she should stay away from him, because he's her total opposite, but she can see past his mask, the one he wants everyone to see, and she gets to see his vulnerability and she gets to his heart. I loved the way she didn't care about what other people thought when they saw them together, or how she always managed to bring out the best in him because she had faith in him.

This wonderful book is about friendship, about love, about redemption, about how the strongest bonds can survive the distance and the heartbreak. I loved every bit of it, and this is definitely one of the books I will want to read over and over again.

And after reading this book, I'll never be able to watch Dirty Dancing again without thinking of Del :-)

PS if you keep singing "Fix you" by Coldplay in your head long after you've finished the book, don't worry: You're not alone. :-)

By the way, if you've already read Back To You, you definitely have to check out this special alternate scene from Del's POV, which is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time - at least it was for me. But read it ONLY if you've already read the book, as this is a big spoiler!! Click here to read a scene that will make you go Wow and Aww most of the time.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Being an indie author is a tough job...

Ever since I decided to become an Indie author, I've started living a double life, just like Superman, Batman and Spiderman - only, without the superpowers. And I have to say, it can get a little exhausting and overwhelming at times. I'm a normal person working full-time during the day, and then at night and over the weekend I shed the mask, and turn into Superindie, the writer. Well, I don't know how Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne managed - I have to say having a double life really is a tough job!

When I decided to self-publish, I guess I didn't think of all the aspects that would go with it. I didn't want to wait for one agent among millions to like my manuscript and give me a chance; I had tried the traditional route but it didn't work, and I was running out of time - I wanted people to read my story and get feedback, because I needed to know if all the sweat, the tears and the weekend cooped up in my room, typing franctically on my computer had been worth it. Yes, I guess I could've simply joined a critique group or found beta readers, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I'd been working so hard on my novel, and I wanted the world to meet my baby; even if I found an agent, he/she would have to find a publisher, get a contract, organize everything and it would take at least another year.
Let me tell you straight out that patience is definitely NOT a virtue I possess. I'm more like what Freddie Mercury sang: "I want it all, and I want it now" - so... no, I couldn't wait for a traditional publishing contract.

But I hadn't really thought of all the other aspects of self-publishing that I would have to take care of myself. What was so hard about it? I'll get my book edited by a professional, I'll upload it, choose a cover (the fun part) and bam! It's online and on Amazon. How easy is that?
I know I've always said I'm a dreamer, and I guess that writers are that at the end of the day (or is it just me?) but I thought I wouldn't have to do much more than shout out "My book is available, world; go grab a copy!" and people would buy it and the next thing I knew, I could quit my day job (which I hate, just so you know) and be a full-time writer and reader. Wow, wouldn't that be awesome?

Well, sorry to disappoint you, Roberta, but this ain't gonna happen any time soon! Okay, that was my own Jiminy Cricket taking hold of my keyboard - sorry about that.

Anyway, in spite of all the efforts being an indie author requires, there are  good things about it. The first one is that I've learnt a lot about blogging, book tours, giveaways and stuff. A whole new world has opened its doors to me and I'm loving it - it's just what I love doing!
The downside though is that I've really had to work hard to get people to know that my book exists, to create a buzz around it and get people to read it. I'm just not good at marketing, and I definitely don't like boasting (I guess an author should do that, too to convince people that the novel is really good and they should give it a try - but I'm just too shy to do that!)

Being an indie author also helped me discover a wonderful world - the Indie World, which is made of struggling writers who, just like me, are keen to get their works out there, but are also happy to help one another, just because they know how much work is involved in writing a good novel and getting it published.
I've met great writers who, in my opinion, should have been asked to sign a contract by a publishing house, because their novels were really good. I've met people who helped me promote my book, even though they'd never heard my name before, and who didn't ask for anything in return. I've been glad to help other authors with my Indie Author Interview Corner, and I've met lovely people in the process of marketing my book.
Would have I met them, had I gone down the traditional publishing route? No, probably not. Maybe I would've made more money out of my book, I would have become a famous writer (doubt it! - aww, shut up Jim and let me dream for once!), but I would've probably missed all the good parts, like the happiness of belonging to a community, of not feeling like a black sheep in a flock of milky white ones (like I always do, being the only writer in my family), while sharing the same fears, doubts, expectations and dreams of hundreds of people out there, whom I would never have met otherwise.

So even if I'll still have to go to my boring office on Monday, and I'll have to use every spare moment in the week to write and promote, with hindsight I can say I'm proud to be part of the Indie World, with or without superpowers.

Are you an indie author, too? Please do leave a comment and share your thoughts!