Review. Goddess by Kelee Morris

Book 1 of Goddess

 

Title: Goddess

Author: Kelee Morris

Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance

First Published> 2015

Year of Publication of this Edition: 2016

Self-Published

Series: Goddess

Rating: 3/5 stars

Warning: this book contains adult themes and language! “I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.”

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As well as in the case of One summer in Montmartre, I received the free copy of this book via Reading Deals. Goddess by Kelee Morris is a more daring book for me because I’ve never read erotica before and hopefully it won’t be the last one belonging to this genre.

Julia Nelson is a loving wife, caring mother of three and PTA president, who lives a pretty dull life that revolves around her children and her busy husband. Though everything seems peaceful, Julia is unhappy with her marriage, even if she is fully aware that Matt is working hard for her and for their girls. She also has an unfulfilled professional life since her family always comes first and she is unsure if anyone would still hire her (considering the fact that she is in her forties).

When Nina Hwan, a PhD student in archaeology, and Dr Ashland Stewart offer Julia a temporary job, Matt is not supportive of his wife. What Julia has to do is to go to the rare books library daily, where she must translate a 16th-century journal of a Catholic monk (Brother Ferreira), who went to Japan to convert its people to Christianity, but a terrible storm makes him stumble upon Korean shore. Dr Stewart and Nina excavated a site in North Korea, where they found the ruins of a forgotten matriarchal society named Magoa and they hoped that the translation of Brother Ferreira’s journal will reveal something about this mysterious city.

However, the most intriguing part is that Nina spots a strange tattoo Julia had on her ankle that looks like a familiar symbol she encountered at the Korean site. This tattoo first appeared many years ago in Julia’s wet dreams, where she was visited by a mysterious man, whose face she couldn’t see. This unusual symbol will let Julia enter into a small circle of archaeology students and she will meet the ruggedly handsome and intimidating Dr Ashland Stewart. He will make her rediscover her sexuality and will bring meaning to her life, but also a lot of trouble.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I enjoyed most of it, especially the part about Magoa because I don’t know very much about that side of the world. The writing is good, it’s easy to read and Julia’s midlife sexual crisis is understandable to a certain point. She is a busy mum and wife, a responsible PTA president, but she wants more from life… more lust, passion, and a better job – things that only Ashland can give her.

Though I can’t say that I fully agree with everything Julia does or says, her relationship with Dr Stewart makes her more aware of her femininity, he boosts her confidence and her interest in archaeology. By meeting Dr Ashland Stewart, Julia not only enters into a private course of sexual revival and experimentation but also an intellectual circle of people interested in solving the mystery of a lost city on the North Korean soil. Enjoy!

Try a Chapter Book Tag

April has been an amazing reading month for me because I read ten (short) books, but they were mixed reads from the okay-ish to the most amazing ones. On the other hand, the beginning of May wasn’t that great because I enjoyed a single book and dnf-ed or even deleted two of them. Therefore, after two failed attempts to read two confusing cosy mysteries, I found myself wondering what book I should read next. Finally, I figured out that the best way to find out what book I’m in the mood for is by trying a chapter from a few books I’m interested in. I found the Try a Chapter Book Tag on Booktube, where you pick up five or more books you are excited about, read the first chapter of each book (including the prologue), you give your opinion about what you have just read and decide what book you want to continue reading. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? If you find yourself being in a reading slump or you just don’t know what to pick up next, feel free to give it a try. It’s actually useful, even when you want to get rid of unread books.

I cheated a bit because five books are too many for me, so I’ve picked up only four and those are:

  • You & Me Forever: A Sweet Romance Collection by Megan Linski, Pamita Rao and other six authors, which is a young adult romance anthology comprising eight short stories and a novella. I wanted to read something light and summery, so I thought that this book would do the trick.
  • The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb is the first instalment in Ms Effrosyni Moschoudi’s historical paranormal romance From this author I also read The Necklace of Goddess Athena, which is one of my favourite books set in Greece. I’m looking forward to reading this novel because I have a soft spot for Greece in general.
  • Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence is the first instalment in a historical romantic thriller series entitled The Troubadours Quartet and it is written by Welsh author Jean Gill. This book has troubadours, romance, political intrigue and it is set in Medieval France, after the Second Crusade. Therefore, it should be something up my alley.
  • The Treasure of Gwenlais is the first instalment in M. T. Magee’s young adult epic fantasy series entitled The Rienfield Chronicles, a story inspired by Celtic folklore.

Here’s what I have to say about each chapter I’ve read:

Check Mate by T. Ariyanna is the first short story in the You & Me Forever anthology. In the first chapter, Liz and her best friend Daisy chat on the phone about a foster child who has run off from the correction facility he stayed in. Liz is the daughter of the chief of police and she is frequently asked by her classmates about certain cases, but little does she know what fate has in store for her. After the assailant sneaks into Liz’s room and tries to hold her hostage, Liz shows her self-defence skills and frees herself. I liked the way she stood her ground and didn’t feel intimidated by the strange boy who seemed to be her age. The story is suspenseful and I’m really curious to read more.

In the prologue to The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb by Effrosyni Moschoudi, Sofia recalls a strange dream she had a night before. She was standing on the pier where she worked, but the pier changed its size and it seemed like everything around her changed, a terrifying storm broke and in Sofia’s place stood a woman dressed in black who looked pretty much like her. What does this dream mean, who is that woman and why she was in pain? Meanwhile, in the first chapter, we move from 1987’s Greece to 1937’s England, where Laura Mayfield’s story takes place. Laura moves to Brighton with her ill mother, Ruth, who needed a milder climate for her weak lungs. I think this story will be a slow read, but the writing is beautiful and I enjoy reading about alternating timelines.

In Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence by Jean Jill, sixteen-year-old Estela de Matin runs away from an abusive household, wants to start afresh and leave her old identity behind. On the road, she encounters Alénor of Aquitaine, the Queen of France, and her loyal guards, who were travelling from Carcassonne to Narbonne. They eye Estela suspiciously because she might be plotting a robbery with other bandits in hiding or she might be a thief because she carries a mandora, a musical instrument like a lute. After the queen orders the girl to play and sing a song, Alénor of Aquitaine invites Estela to come with them to the court. At first, this book was a little hard to get into because I don’t know that historical period too well, especially the politics, but the idea of a girl troubadour is something I’ve never heard of and I’m curious to read how Estela will get along with Dragonetz, the queen’s commander and her troubadour.

The Treasure of Gwenlais by M. T. Magee contains a prologue in which we are told who the most important characters are, which kingdom they protect or belong to, who are the enemies and which are the stakes of this first book. In short, Princess Laurel of Gwenlais is rescued from the claws of a monster by Caleb, Prince of Heathwin, “the Chief and Commander of the Sentinels who protected the two Kingdoms of Gwenlais and his own realm of Heathwin”. (Loc. 149) Meanwhile, the Sentinels lead by Prince Aiden gallop towards the village to kill the monsters (Rabkins) and to count the casualties. The first chapter is very long, so I paused when I came to a page break, but the novel is worth reading because it’s a high fantasy and it seems to have a complex world.

And here is what I’ve decided:

After reading the chapters and prologues, I decided to read Check Mate by T. Ariyanna because I like the suspense and the story is pretty short. Then, I think that I will choose Ms Jean Gill’s novel because I want to know what happens to Estela at the French royal court and how the past will influence her future.

Review: When I See Your Face by Devika Fernando

A Second Chance At Love

 

Title: When I See Your Face

Subtitle: A Second Chance At Love

Author: Devika Fernando

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Year of Publication: 2014

Self-Published

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

I wrote in an older review that I’m pretty shy when it comes to contemporary literature, because I’m not very accustomed to its genres, styles and new trends; plus, I don’t always know what I’m getting into. However, after recently discovering a few Romanian and foreign book tubers and after creating my Goodreads and Twitter accounts, my interest and appetite for contemporary books began to grow. It’s more like a combination of curiosity and the need to know what’s new and good to read.

For today’s review, I’m going to talk about a romance novel entitled When I See Your Face: A Second Chance At Love written by Sri Lankan-born German author Devika Fernando, who sent me a link to the free Kindle Edition of her book, that also contains an unexpected bonus. She has also published other contemporary and paranormal romance books and series, which are very tempting for any book lover of these genres.

When I See Your Face: A Second Chance At Love follows the story of Cathy Nolan, the wife of real estate manager Mark Nolan. She runs away from home, in order to escape the beatings and suffering caused by her abusive husband. She flees to a quiet village, where she plans to begin a new life. However, Cathy panics and has a nervous breakdown when she encounters Michael Newland, a man who looks exactly like her husband. Talking about freaky coincidences, huh? The other man’s face brings back to life Cathy’s traumatic memories and fears regarding her husband through vivid nightmares.

Though Michael and Cathy’s first encounter is far from polite, because of her improper behaviour towards him, the man introduces her to his passion for gardening, his artworks, because he also enjoys painting, and he overall makes Cathy feel useful happy and free. Compare this to the times when she was forced by her husband to behave in a certain manner, to always dress elegantly, wear make-up and talk very little as if she were his puppet. Michael, on the other hand, will help Cathy figure out a way to fulfil her dream of opening her own business, baking and decorating cakes, and he will be her biggest supporter. Cathy feels attracted to Michael, but she doesn’t know if it’s okay to fall in love with someone whose face she feared so much in the past. Though Mark and Michael are almost identical, Cathy realises that the latter is less self-centred than the former, he is truly caring, honest, funny and he’s very attentive towards her — these are qualities that Cathy never found in Mark.

Though it’s a bit odd for someone to fall in love with a man physically identical with one’s abusive and controlling husband, I presume that Cathy’s attraction to Michael can be interpreted as her longing for a better version of Mark. Even if Michel boosts her confidence, Cathy is reluctant to tell him about her past. Giving into his love for her it will not be easy, because of her shadowy memories regarding her husband and the fear of making the same mistakes again. However, Michael wants Cathy to leave the past and her fears behind and start afresh because he also went through a bitter life experience before moving to this small village and before working as a gardener. What secret will be revealed?

In short, the story is light – more like a summer read – fast paced and a cocktail of emotions ranging from fear, pain, and vulnerability… to love. The characters are relatable because each of them has both a good and a bad side. It’s a story about love, pain and happiness… about the strength to leave the past behind and chase your dreams. Enjoy!

Recenzie: Mistere venețiene de Kathryn Walker

Titlu: Mistere venețiene

Titlu original: A Stopover in Venice

Author: Kathryn Walker

Gen: Contemporary Romance

Anul apariției: 2008

Anul apariției acestei ediții: 2009

Editura Tritonic

Colecția Cașmir

Traducător: Vâlvoiu Iulian

Rating: 5/5 stele


De obicei sunt destul de sceptică atunci când vine vorba de cărți nou apărute, deoarece nu poți fi niciodată sigur dacă romanul pe care l-ai cumpărat a meritat sau nu banii și timpul tău. Totuși, în multitudinea de cărți de duzină, poți găsi, întâmplător sau nu, și cărți bune. Nu neapărat valoroase, dar plăcute ochilor și minții.

În această categorie se încadrează romanul de debut al scriitoarei și actriței americane de Broadway Kathryn Walker, Mistere venețiene (A Stopover in Venice), apărut în 2009 la Editura Tritonic, care ne îmbarcă într-o călătorie plină de mister, artă, reflecții îndreptate spre trecut – fie că este vorba despre trecutul protagonistei sau cel istoric – dragoste și, nu în ultimul rând, măreția și splendoarea Veneției.

Cornelia Everett este o tânără actriță de origine americană, care și-a dedicat viața în totalitate soțului ei Anthony, un muzician egoist, irascibil, încăpățânat și ironic. În ciuda sacrificiului ei, Anthony este mai interesat de cariera lui, Cornelia fiind o prezență neglijabilă. Dându-și seama că viața lângă Anthony nu îi mai aduce nicio satisfacție, Nel își ia bagajul și hotărăște să coboare undeva lângă Veneția, pentru a petrece un timp singură cu gândurile ei, a se plimba și, în cele din urmă, a se bucura de viață. Amintirile protagonistei legate de primul soț, care a decedat, la căsnicia eșuată cu Anthony sau la cariera actoricească au caracter autobiografic. Autoarea a fost căsătorită de două ori: prima dată cu scriitorul și actorul Douglas Kenney, iar a doua oară cu cântărețul James Taylor – o căsnicie nefericită, precum în cazul Corneliei.

După ce salvează un câine din mâinile unor copii răutăcioși, Nel intră în casa Contesei Lucrezia da Isola, adevărata stăpână a micuțului Leo, unde o echipă de restauratori, în frunte cu Matteo Clemente, încearcă să deslușească misterul unei fresce renascentiste descoperite în podul vechii case. Cornelia se împrietenește cu Signora Lucrezia, o bătrânică simpatică și stilată; se apropie de Matteo și se oferă să participe la dezlegarea misterului.

Treptat, apar tot felul de specialiști în istorie și artă, care găsesc câte o piesă a puzzle-ului prin intermediul documentelor vremii sau al altor indicii, aflate în anumite locuri din Veneția. De exemplu, prin intermediul unei traducătoare, iese la suprafață jurnalul înduioșător al unei tinere de 16 ani, care își relatează viața – alături de mama vitregă, tatăl și de frații ei – dar și povestea de dragoste dintre ea și pictorul Giorgione (Zorzi), care ticluia și versuri și cânta la lăută ca un adevărat Orfeu. Clara, acesta fiind numele fetei, este și ea talentată la pictură, astfel fratele ei Vicenzo o duce la atelierul lui Giorgione, care o apreciază de prima dată când o vede. Ne este povestit cu multă încântare episodul în care faimosul pictor o imortalizează pe tânără într-un portret, eveniment urmat de apogeul iubirii lor. Totuși, uneori lucrurile nu merg bine până la capăt; astfel, la Veneția izbucnește o epidemie de ciumă, iar Clara trebuie să rămână la o mănăstire de măicuțe, alături de alte tinere ce proveneau din pătura nobilimii. Din păcate, Giorgione este obligat să își continue proiectele artistice (dar și idila cu o prostituată pe nume Cecilia); pictorul moare cu câteva luni înainte de nașterea fiului său.

Dar acum să ne întoarcem la Nel, care începe puțin câte puțin să se descopere, să reflecteze la trecut, prezent și viitor, să își regăsească identitatea, să se îndrăgostească de Matteo și să își dea seama ce își dorește cu adevărat. Chiar dacă romanul are un final deschis, este lesne de înțeles din desfășurarea acțiunii, că protagonista își va urma inima și va alege să fie fericită.

Voi încheia prezentarea acestei cărți, recomandând-o celor îndrăgostiți de Veneția, fie că ați fost acolo sau nu, dar și celor care vor să o descopere. Kathryn Walker crează o atmosferă misterioasă și impresionantă, demnă de La Serenissima. Sunt inserate informații despre artă, istorie, tarot, care însă nu sunt atât de numeroase încât să plictisească cititorul. Romanul este echilibrat, nimic nu e prea mult sau prea puțin, personajele sunt plăcute, iar misterul frescei nu îți dă voie să lași cartea din mână. Personal, am avut senzația că mă plimb pe toate străduțele înguste, pe podețele de deasupra canalelor sau prin Piața San Marco alături de Nel și de adorabilul Leo.