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More Beginnings – by Iris Blobel ; excerpt and review :)

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♥♦♥  EXCERPT ♥♦♥

Zach Taylor’s young neighbour, Mia, let out a long sigh as she joined him on his front porch and sat next to him on the swing. Enjoying a cool lemonade, he invited her to grab a soft drink from the fridge as well. It was a warm summer day, and the air showed no sign of cooling down. A lot of people in Hobart were weary of the unusual hot spell for the very southern Australian city.

With another hefty sigh, Mia raked through her long, blond hair and stared into the distance. “Honestly, Zach, she’s a dragon. I’m sure she does it on purpose. She doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m spoilt.”

The dragon in question was Miss Peterson, Mia’s high school English teacher. There was no doubt that Mia liked school, and she enjoyed her classes. And even though English wasn’t her worst subject, it certainly was the toughest one, with Miss Peterson piling on homework one after the other.

Zach took a sip of his drink before he replied, “Hey, pumpkin, settle down. What’s that supposed to mean you’re ‘spoilt’?”

She lifted her shoulder in a slight shrug. “You know!”

Raising his brows, he replied, “Actually I don’t know! Isn’t she Sophie’s good friend?”

Another shrug. “Kind of, I suppose. They used to do the boxing stuff together, and since Soph’s carrying a baby, they go and enjoy coffee and cake instead every once in a while.”

Ignoring his chuckle, she went inside and helped herself to cold lemonade. She opened the can with a simple click as she returned outside and took a long sip.

~~~Review~~~

more beginningsYet another brilliant romance by Iris Blobel! 🙂

Very engaging right from the start, with characters that have their flaws and past…

It is a book #2, but I’m sure it can be read as a stand alone (though you might be tempted to reach for #1 to fill in the blanks 😉 😀 )

I found three main threads in this book: one being the strong relationship between sisters, which is more like mother (Sophie)-daughter(Mia) at times; and which is put into a big test when Mia’s father decides to come back unannounced, causing… lets say, quite a storm in their lives. Does he really mean no harm? Is he trying to take Mia away from her sister? Or are there any other reasons? If I add the fact that Mia’s father’s existence was kept a secret… nope, not saying more.

Second thread – of course, the Baby!!! I have to admit as the plot progressed, I was getting more and more worried: will Sophie be OK? Will the baby be OK?!

And the tasty thread of Zach, and, well his love life. Or to be more exact – the question if his work (nope, not saying what it is) will ruin his chances to love and be loved…?

Phew. Hope I did not spoil anything for anyone 😀

Recommended drink: a glass of your favourite wine… for me – a rose of course!!! 😀

♥♦♥ MEET THE AUTHOR ♥♦♥

IRIS BLOBEL

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

 

 

~~~Social Media Links~~~

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The New Beginnings by Iris Blobel –> my review

Two posts earlier I was doing a little promo post for “New Beginnings” by Iris Blobel. Time for my very personal review 😀

* * * *
New Beginning pic2How many of us would like to have another chance in life… to start over. Especially if the life wasn’t too kind so far…

Two sisters. Though because of the death of their mother – one more a mother than a sister… Money always short, always not enough… And then all of a sudden – a chance for a total change. 180 degree turn. Light in a tunnel, a spark in a darkness. Unexpected and seemingly unexplained inheritance changes everything…

I loved this story. Not oversweetened , captivating, with likable and believable characters. Add to that a little mystery (WHY did they actually got that inheritance, and WHO was the “giver”?), little love story (well… won’t say anything more, no spoilers here!), and the strongest possible, sisterly bond – and there you have it! A perfect summer (or winter, depending where you live 😉 )read!!!!

 

 


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“Echoes of the Past” by Iris Blobel —> my VERY personal review :)

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OK, I admit it. I am not your average romance-loving reader. Read my share – now I prefer mysteries. With a dash of romance. BUT this one? I received the Advanced Reading Copy, and – knowing and liking the Author’s writing a lot (I wrote about Iris Blobel’s other books on several occasions – here and here,   I also had an opportunity to interview the Author 🙂  ) – I started reading “Echoes…”

And that was it! I honestly do not remember last time I’ve read something so gentle, so dear – yet tugging on all the inner feelings strings with quite a strength!

It`s a story about the love that miraculously survives, even though it was born in the heart of a child, and did not have any conditions to grow through the years… Yet it remained strong, in that heart of little girl, teenager and then a woman, as if she needed to nurture it for both of them…

A story about true friendship, that survives everything, through the years, feeding only on memories of the childhood times. Memories and dreams, held strong in the broken heart of the father…

Story about the longing in the heart, a feeling of which a grown man has no clue at first, driven by curiosity perhaps, but which explodes full blast when he comes to the place he once loved, and which was brutally taken away from him.

It finally is a story about questions that need to be asked and answered, about priorities one has in ones life, about righting the wrongs, and going after the true calling of the heart.

And THIS is not your regular review, I realize that, but I can’t write even one word about the details of the book without the fear of revealing too much and therefore spoiling the beautiful book for an unsuspecting reader!

Absolutely amazing read!


 

About the Author:Iris Blobel 2013

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Find Iris Blobel on: 

Blog  –   Facebook  –  Goodreads  –  Twitter  –  Pinterest  –  Google+


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“Shade me” by Jennifer Brown —->review with quotes & giveaway!

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Colours. What would the world be without them? Sad place, I dare to say… But imagine world in which all that you see AND all that you feel – have colour. Other people’s feelings are clear to you as you
can see the colours changing around them… Well, meet  Nikki Kill – a girl with a rare condition called  synesthesia. To say her world is a kaleidoscope wouldn’t be just a figure of speech… At first she does not realize that this whole colored world of hers is any different from others – so she talks about it openly, to the confusion (to say the least) of others. Once she realizes she is the only one who can see the world like that – she tries to hide it. 

“I’ll explain later, I opened my mouth to say, but I knew that wasn’t true. I wasn’t in the habit of telling anyone about my dolphin blue, or any other color, and I wasn’t going to start today. “I just know,” I said, which turned out to be as close of an explanation to my synesthesia as there was anyway”

And explaining it? Well, she tried that over and over again, when her Dad tried to find out what exactly is wrong with her. So explaining was no fun whatsoever. Here is the conversation she had with a school counselor:

“So you are saying you’re too distracted thinking about colors to concentrate on your work,” he’d said.
“Not really,” I said, hating that I was having to talk about this once again, and that I hadn’t gotten any better at explaining it at eighteen than I had been at eight”

It got me thinking – how would you actually even try to explain it? Something that you consider natural part of your life. How would she know what is “normal” seeing colour and what isn’t? I sure did not envy her at all…
Well, considering her synesthesia, it is no wonder she wasn’t doing good at school… 

“I’ll have to think, ‘Is it a three or an e’, and by the time I’ve figured it out, I’ve completely lost my train of thought”

Yup, 3 and “e” have the same colour. 

So, as Nikki struggles at school, and discouraged – skips classes, gets to the point where her graduation becomes, well, “iffy” to say the least – she gets a phone call from another girl in her school… Thus getting involved into a whole world, which she had no idea about, and which was not a safe place. Peyton,  the girl that called her, ends up beaten up in the hospital, Nikki starts getting flashbacks to the times her mother was brutally killed (no killers found).

“Crimson meant death.”

She knows her colours. Crimson was the one she saw when she found her mother in the big puddle of blood… That also was the colour she saw around Peyton at the hospital…

Meandering around the clues, getting into fights (working out at the dojang comes in handy when she needs to fight some pretty big attackers), overcoming her distrust in the police (they did not do a great job finding her mother’s killer, did they?), skiping so many classes in the meantime, that she is not sure if the last teacher who still had some patience left – won’t give up on her as well – she gets to the bottom of things… 

But what she finds in there is the biggest surprise of them all. 

I am not going to spoil everything and write it out there nice and clear. Enough to mention that Nikki discovers she is not the only one with synesthesia, that things aren’t always as they seem, and her world just might slightly turn its angle…

Oh and the police thing? Well, she’ll learn that not all of them are that bad.

The only thing I’m going to write about the ending of the book, is that it nicely leaves a field for the next books in the series 🙂 

And this one was my absolute favourite quote:

“You know what they should teach in school? How not to become a bitter, mistrustful ball of numb when life shits all over you […] How to keep people at arm’s distance so you don’t lose your mind when they leave you, because no matter what they say, they always, always, always will, no matter what.
That would be a useful class”

As I was reading I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Nikki… She tries to be (and is) a tough girl, does not allow herself to love anyone, breaks up the relationships when she notices too much involvement from the other side… and yet I couldn’t stop thinking that deep down there inside she MUST yearn for love… She seems to be pushing people away from her at all time, hopefully she will find a soul she could trust, a person who will understand her well enough for the relationship to develop… 

Great book! Wishing all the best luck to the Author, and hoping for the book #2 in the series! 






About the Author

jenniferbrown

Jennifer Brown is the author of acclaimed young adult novels, Hate List, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, and Torn Away. Her debut novel, Hate List, received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bitter End received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle grade novel, Life on Mars, was released in 2014, and her second middle grade novel, How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel will be released in summer 2015. She also writes women’s fiction under the name Jennifer Scott.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.




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From my reading couch… – part 2

As promised – carrying on with the recently read books 🙂

 

22180631Not your regular cozy, where everything happens so fast. Here there is time for some memories, maternal worries, trust and distrust intertwining throughout the book.
Lella – main character – has a lot new and strange things to digest all of a sudden, and when she comes back from her Italian vacation – nothing is as she remembers it anymore, lots of creepy and ugly truths are coming out, and now not only she has to come to terms with her Husband`s affair (with Ruby – her best friend!), but also figure out where is Ruby hiding, before her own son will be sentenced for the crime he did not commit!

***

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Although this one wasn’t quite my cup if tea – it had pretty interesting plot, quite a few suspects that left a big field for the reader to have his sleuthing/guessing game going 🙂

***

26401450Oh, how much I like Jamie Quinn!!! I’d befriended her in a blink of an eye, have I ever had a chance 😀
Seriously though – book #4, I’d say – best one ever, for one, because it was the longest one of all! Yeah! I finally got my feed of the lively characters! 🙂
Mystery so cleverly plotted, humor and little twists in the side events, which at times blow up to trade places with main thought.
Jamie has to come to terms with her boyfriend going for a chance-of-the-lifetime trip to Australia, trust is being probed when she sees a picture of him with his co-workers (and a sexy young lady among them 😉 ).
Her friendship with Grace is tested, as they join their strengths when they are hired by a very influential lawyer’s wife to be her divorce lawyers…
Absolutely brilliant! Loved it!

***

18662936OK, so I have to admit – the Magic Phone thingy was a tad disturbing at first, and I couldn’t figure it out – does it or doesn’t it have an impact on the “now” when she has the conversations with her husband – her being in the present and him in the past? But then I just realized I don’t care anymore, I just want to find out what what will happen next….
I choked up a few times as I was reading, couldn’t help but cry at the end. Was yelling at Georgia (main female character) a few times – yeah, the book evoked strong emotions inside of me.
Was it a bit cheesy? – sure. Was it Hollywood-ish? You bet.
Does not matter.
Loved it anyways 😀

***

161556No way! I got tricked in this one! In a good company, because so did the main character, but still! huh!!! 🙂 (when you read the book, you’ll know what I mean 😉 )
Very fun read, lots of twists and turns and tricks 😀

Nothing is quite as it seams, but then – given that the culprit there is magic-show-act-troupe – it should not be surprising 😉

Definitely a series to watch for (as this is 19th or so book and for me it was a first. 😀 )

***

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Even though the witches and witchcraft and such stuff is totally not my cup of tea, and usually I try to avoid it – I liked this book for so much more – the very fast pace, showing the second chances that people do get in life, the strength of a true friendship.

Plus the Author has been among ones I like the most 😀
great Halloween read! 🙂

***

9729752When I start reading a book, I usually am trying to predict who’s going to be the dead guy. (That’s if it is not written at the back cover. Or when I do not read the back cover 😉 )Given the amount of cozy mysteries I’ve read in my life, I am usually right as well 😀 Not here. I was 100% sure the dead guy will be the no-good ex, but nope 😀

Strong family ties, true friendship, troubles with the teenage kids…

…and just like that I got myself yet another series to catch up 😀

***

Book #1 in Jane Delaney series 🙂  And as usually – I’ve read book #2 a while back, so it was nice to fill in some blank spots 😉

Jane Delaney – a.k.a Death Diva – runs a 22855883business not for just anyone. After all – she takes very specific, very unusual orders from people that won’t do it themselves (for various reasons). And it always has something to do with dead people… or cemeteries. But it is so much different when she finds her friend (and long time employer) dead in her own (the friend’s, not Jane’s) home… After first shock, as things do not seem to add up, Jane is not buying the “heart attack” cause of death that the doctor ruled. She starts snooping by herself…

Funny, fast paced, surprising at times 😀 really fun to read 🙂 And even the fact that my first suspect turned out to be the killer at the end – did not spoil anything (Especially that as I was reading on the suspects were just coming and going 😉 ).

***

When I saw the cover and title I was imagining something voodoo-like, you know, with a mop doll instead of the usual 😀 But this turned out to be not so, and am I ever grateful! 🙂

11958882When a group of women’s magazine staff gets the info that they’ll be doing the TV Morning show – they get thrilled at the opportunity to earn more money… Little do they know, that it will turn out they will be working double for the same amount of money… So when the show producer turns out dead – there is no shortage of suspects…

Book #2 in the series, full of humour, action, some internal struggles, never-ending animosities between family members (and roommates) that poor Anastasia has to endure. Her reward? Well. How about a very hot photo-journalist renting a room above her garage…? 😀
can’t wait for #3 😀


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From my reading couch… – part 1: Ellery Adams

Well. Considering that my favourite spot for reading is… a chair by the IMG_2364kitchen table (yes, wooden chair, and YES I DO have a pillow under my 3 or 4 lettered part of body. I even had to get another pillow for a spare chair, because Pumpkin kept stealing my spot! Here he is in the transition stage of sorts, not quite sure if he can trust that “other spot” 🙂 ) – the title should have been from my reading chair, but I decided couch sounded better 🙂

Anyways.

The last reading update was when I discovered my library finally got Ellery Adams Books By The Bay series. And that’s where I wrote a few words about book #1 in the series – “Killer Plot”.I was so thrilled to finally… sink my reading fangs (??? Where did that come from???) into the series. Since that time I’ve read quite a few books, finishing then available By The Bay series included. I decided that if I were to add here even just few words about each book – the post would be way to long.  And so in this one – just Books By the Bay 🙂

 

8732194<– Watch out Oyster Bay people – there is a Cliche Killer on the loose! What a neatly plotted mystery! I am still in awe for all writers club snippets that are in the book (they were also included in book #1) – must be that much harder, to think of possible plots for 5 more books (one for each member of the club 🙂 ). In a way it is as if the author was writing not one but a few books at the same time.
I loved the side story about Olivia’s father…  – touching and moving, and quite a mystery in itself.
And as always – the main, mystery plot – very interesting and moving pretty fast!

 

–>Bayside Book Writers are thrilled to find out the 10998463bestselling author is coming to town!
But when he was found strangled, everyone wants answers.
Will they be wishing they never found out the truth, when they find out whodunit?
Touching, intriguing, captivating.
I actually had a hard time figuring out if the mystery was here a main plot, or Olivia’s family story, or maybe her love life 🙂  Switching between them all – I was crying, I was laughing and biting my fingers wondering what will come next. Kept me guessing, even though I had my suspects 😉

 

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<– Look out everyone -there is a witch in town!
Well, not so much in town, as on a secluded island… Olivia gets called to her, and when she reluctantly does go there – she does not get much of an answer to anything, but more questions. Not sure if to believe it or not, she tries to shake it off, but then she finds out the witch was murdered. Left with a memory jug of keepsakes she got from the witch, she has no choice, but dig into the mystery…

 

 

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–> The nice gathering of storytellers suddenly
goes bad when the best one turns up dead… In addition – it seemed as if she predicted her death. Rumor has it that she had some invaluable treasure and maybe – just maybe – that’s what got her killed?
Past mysteries come back to light, our Bayside Book Writers/Detectives bunch (and of course Chief Rawlings 😉 ) have a good puzzle to solve, and at the end it looks like the killer might be just someone too close to home…

 
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<– Time capsule! Who wouldn’t want to be among the people who discover one? Well, those who have something to fear about their past, ofcourse… Whose ancestors were involved in some unfairness, injustice…
Discovery of a time capsule in Oyster Bay’s Presbyterian Church is followed by two deaths… Coincidence? Ah, but the Chief of the police does not believe in such. What’s left, but to gather the Bayside Book Writers and go around in search of any clues…
Meanwhile, as Olivia prepares her Chef’s wedding, she has to come to terms with her own past, to be able to step into the future with the love of her life…

 


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What I’ve recently read…

It was one of those books that fills me with very mixed emotions as I read it, and I am going from one extreme (liking it a lot) to another (disliking it and thinking of quitting).
I was able to finish it and I find it quite interesting overall, worth reading.
The Nazi POW camp portrayed in the book is totally unrealistic for me, and at times I had a feeling that the characters and problems are treated very lightly, almost as if on the surface only, not digging any dipper than the skin thickness. Only after I was able to get used to such description of the camp, I was able to read further…

The study of the characters as in the contrary to the one of the camp – was done really deep and thorough. I had a feeling that I am assisting them throughout their various moments of happiness and betrayal, joys and sorrows…

Overall – the book is written interestingly enough to finish it though. There is some plot build up, and this makes the reader want to turn the page and find out what happened next…

It also makes for pretty good conversation at a bookclub meeting 😉


Finally I was able to put my hands on this series! I was warned to start from the book#1, and I imagine it was a good advice, as there are lots of “ground” information that might be lost on me if I hadn’t start at the beginning 🙂 (I have done that many times before, starting a series from a book #7 or whatnot, and then going back to the beginning, I was finding out the answers for the things that were bothering me or questions that were raised while reading, not connected to a current mystery but to the character or his/her interactions with others 😉 )

I like a lot the main character of the series. Olivia is strong and appears to be successful woman, yet her story is far from that of a joyful and sweet childhood, filled with love, care and all the wonderful memories… There is lots of hurt, loneliness and tragedy in there…

Very nice and clever plot(s), events moving action forward nicely spread throughout the book. the “whodunit” totally unpredictable (for me anyways). No lengthy waiting periods for the clues to appear – really great beginning of the series, and I can’t wait to put my nose into the Book#2 🙂


Very interesting setup, vivid characters, nice twists. A detective wife of a protestant minister? and why not? 😀
I liked the family side-plot in there, so familiar troubles with teens and tweens.
I’d give it 5 stars, except that for some reason it seemed to be dragging a bit. not sure what was the reason for it,really, because I liked the style and the theme 🙂

I’ll be interested in reading other parts in the series 🙂


Now this one is totally a laugh-out-loud mystery! Yes, there is a body, yes there is a kidnapping (double even). There are schemes, old, unsolved mysteries and crimes that pop to the light.

BUT there is The King!! Elvis – much alive! 🙂 Peggy Webb gives the four legged character his own voice, through The King’s songs and experiences.

All comes together in a very brilliant way.

And the crime? Why, solved of course 🙂

Totally recommend this book if you have a free 2-3 hours for a good belly-muscle massage 😀


So… how would you feel and what would you do if you had inherited the whole castle? Situated in the middle of nowhere, remote place… Place where the GPS gives up and you’d have to trust the instinct 🙂

Merry first tried selling it, and when that did not work out, she decided to check it out herself…
That’s how the story starts, and it pretty much got me from the beginning 🙂 Nicely plotted, no lengthy explanation parts, everything just so 🙂 The reader learns more as it is needed, and the whodunit?

Well, there is more to the story than that 🙂
I think I discovered yet another series for myself 😀