#Stellar Beginning – On A Night Like This (Callaways #1) by Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember.

The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind. 
 
 Aiden seeks help from an unlikely partner… 
 
 Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level.

Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth. The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

Check the book out on Barbara’s Website

Check the book out on Amazon

All Callaway Book CoversAs teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they now?

Callaway Print Covers

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Right, so I’ve always wanted to read these series romances which talk about one family member at a time. I’ve not had the gift card balance on Amazon or a credit card to make those sort of purchases. And in a way, I’ve felt these books were too expensive for a common reader like me who barely makes money working online.

So when my favorite blog tour company, Novel Publicity, came out with a tour where I could read all the 8 books from a series, I jumped. I quite literally jumped. And I signed up for it.

I didn’t know I would be in for a huge huge ride. I am reading Book 6 as I type this review out and I cannot wait to discover what these others have in store for me.

I’ve always loved Romance and Suspense and I’ve always believed that their combination is potent. There are those books which are predominantly suspense which have a smattering of romance or erotica in them but this series isn’t like that. I can tell you that after having read 5 books with a different mystery and a different suspense being built up concurrently with a romance.

There’s an almost surreal quality to Romance novels in today’s age and time. We work so hard in our daily life and by some stroke, we live extremely stressful lives. Romance as a genre has such an important role in making people wear slightly tinted glasses, even for those 150 odd pages so that they can live a life where there is a HEA (Happily Ever After) involved.

The book starts off with Sara. She’s lived a life as a by-product of her father’s harsh judgement and cynicism. She’s lived her whole life being saddened by this rejection and feeling that her father somehow abdicated his responsibilities but not having enough courage to speak up.

And that strikes so close to home in so many cases. Expectations of doing well are so rife these days that a slight error of judgement can make parents lose their cool. Parenting in these times is hard.

Aiden is the second Callaway who has a slight history with Sara. He rejected her advances as a teenager adding to Sara’s guilt and rejection, damaging her further psychologically.

Sara comes to San Francisco to mend fences with her father and gets caught up in a fire. Aiden is home to get over the guilt of not saving his best friend. He needs answers.

A fire in Aiden’s neighboring house brings these two together. They embark on a journey to find out what secrets Sara’s father had fostered all these years and to find out what really happened in that smokejumping accident which caused Aiden’s best friend, Kyle’s death.

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My thoughts about this novel were that it seemed too conventional, the set up. Two people who came together and then slowly fell in love.

But then I was wrong. I realised I didn’t get anything being cynical about romance. I read the book like how it was, without drawing parallels to my own life and it flew so much better.

I could imagine Sara’s plight because I know how it is to feel like you’ve let someone down and then have the burden of not living up to expectations. That’s why I connected to Sara.

I somehow didn’t manage to connect as much to Aiden. I wanted to know more about his inner demons and his fears but somehow he did not bare himself as much as I would have liked. He felt a little aloof and that is the only place where I felt the book lacked.

When I read through the book, it just seemed like a movie playing right in front of my eyes with drama, love, peace, emotions and fire!!

This book started this series off with a BANG and I couldn’t wait to read what happened next. For the next few days when I read novel after novel, I could feel my life literally coming to a standstill as I ploughed through suspense after suspense to strip one Callaway bare after the other.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the perfect set up for the other 8 books. You can trace the journey of the Callaways and you mostly end up guessing which Callaway is going to be featured next. That’s the best part, moving forward with the book, moving forward with the characters.

Check the book out on Amazon

#GuestPost by Alyson Miers- Author of Suicide is for Mortals

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What is so Special about Vampires?

It used to be that blood-sucking creatures of the night were vicious, predatory (albeit seductive) objects of fear, nothing more. In recent decades, they’ve become more complex. We used to be afraid of vampires, and werewolves, and now everyone wants to date them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer raised us to understand that vampires and demons could be friends to mortals, instead of foes, if they were so determined. While I have not read the Twilight series, I can understand Meyer’s interest in the pathos of vampires and werewolves. These are concepts of dangerous magical creatures who used to be human and now have little choice but to prey on humans.

Suicide is for Mortals by Alyson Miers

My new novel includes vampires but not werewolves. There are various reasons for the omission, which may include that vampires’ condition affects them the same way all month long, and that they pass for human as long as they’re not eating. An important difference between werewolves and vampires is that for the latter, attacking humans is not merely about aggression and compulsion, but about survival. Blood is their food, and what happens when a vampire starves? This is one of the questions that arise in Suicide is for Mortals.

What remains of the people they used to be, and how do they feel about killing and eating people? How were they turned? There is space in the concepts for people to ask to become predatory creatures, but most of the ones we read about were turned against their will. Do they have any agency in the transition from victim of magical assault to nocturnal predator? Do they have little choice in preying on mortal humans like they used to be, or no choice at all? If there is a choice in the matter, how do they figure that out, and how do they exercise what little control they have?

Has a vampire ever tried to kill himself, and if so, what was the result? Even if he does everything right after joining the undead, how happy can he ever be? How do the undead get along with each other? How does the pursuit of pleasure change for those who can’t go out in daylight? What does love mean to those who feed on the blood of people who could have been their neighbors, friends and family?

These are the questions we ask when we write stories about vampires who aren’t villains, or even those who are villains but still have their own stories to tell. These are the paths we want to walk when we read these stories.

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The struggle over these changes surely leads many of the predatory undead to brood and rage against the loss of their humanity, even as the transition makes them more powerful than they could ever have been as mortals. We love the idea of that brooding, tortured soul lurking in our graveyards and dark alleys, don’t we? We’d love to be there to comfort him, and for the most part we don’t want to join him. We’re confident that the gorgeous undead predator would never hurt us, tempting though it may be to sink his fangs into our necks.

My vamps looked over my list of talking points for their condition and told me to pull up a comfy chair and get out some paper and pen, because I had a lot to learn from them. My bewildered newborn Scanlon, his cynical pack leader Andra, and our hardened predator Patrick love to turn my ideas upside down and shake them to see what falls out of their pockets. Nevertheless, they appreciate my willingness to listen to them, and they will be glad to meet you. Patrick will never say so, but Scanlon will be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Of course, my vamps do not hold this novel’s attention undivided in coping with the trials of immortality. The world of After Rezarta also bears ghosts. In the hierarchy of the living and undead, mocking and taunting ghosts is the only thing that lets vampires forget about their condition. Our ghost, Miranda, has a complicated history with the magical community, which makes it all the sweeter for the vamps to find out she’s a “spook.”

I’m not pleased with the way they treat her, but she dealt with much worse in her lifetime. One might think the undead and the spectral would be prepared to band together, but they have in common that they used to be human, and we humans know how gifted we are at exacerbating our divisions and undermining our common interests. Innocent people may well die if those vamps cannot deign to listen to their hated ghost. I will simply have to trust my vamps to do the right thing.

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Spirituality is a Way of Life says Kamla Kapur in a candid interview

We have with us Kamla Kapur, the author of the lovely book The Singing Guru!!! I’m so glad to have caught her for an interview on our blog!

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  1. How did you start writing? 

When I was eleven years old we returned from a family holiday and my father asked me to write about it. That’s how I got started. My first poem was a poem to my journal. My father had always wanted to be a writer, too, and did a lot of it after he retired from the army.

  1. A penny for your thoughts on Spirituality? 

Spirituality is not something apart from life and living but interwoven into it at every step, stage, and moment. It is a way of life, a manner of living, a mindset, a perspective on your social, professional, and personal relations to others and to yourself. It is in how you approach your day, your job, your spouse, your children, friends and strangers, in how you think about your existence on this planet. It is the center from which you live, the heart of your being. It is not something you do only by going to a temple or church on Sundays now and then. It spans all the levels of who you are, from the mundane to the exalted. It’s in the Zen “chop wood, carry water.”

I believe that we have much to learn about this from the Masters. On the turbulent journey of life one often needs guidance. The word ‘guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness.’ Every tradition has its guides. The prophets of all religions function as gurus who teach us how to live, what to think, how to behave with others. A guide is anyone who has traversed the path before us, knows the terrain, knows where the pitfalls are, can see further than we can, and knows the best course of action in conflicted and confused times. A guide does not want to harm us by constricting or limiting our potential, by setting us apart from others. We can, after we have tried them for their worth on the touchstone of love, trust them. Guidance can come to us from any source, any place, any person, if we supplicate and pray for it. It is never withheld.

 

  1. What are your views on the current religious tensions all over the world?

It is very tragic that humans can be so blind and foolish. Water is water whether you call it water, aqua, l’eau, pani, jal or any of the names for it we have in all the cultures of the world. But we fight with each other because our name for water does not jive with others. The Energy and Power we call God, Allah, Bhagwan, rab, Vishnu etc, etc, is One. Guru Nanak’s definition of a religious person is “one who looks on all as equal.” Brotherhood and sisterhood of all on this planet is Sikhism’s basic tenet.

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I can only surmise that there is so much conflict because there is a deep necessity for violence in our nature. I am not justifying it, but pervasive it is does make you stop and think. You have to take a metaview of these unending phenomena of tension, conflict, war. If the Energy is One, then Creation and Destruction are two aspects of it. In the West these two are polarized but not so in the East. There is a wonderful story from the Indian tradition, from the Mahabharat, in fact, that I have recreated in my book, GANESHA GOES TO LUNCH, called ‘See Him in the Dark,’ on this topic.

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And then there is also the possibility that as we evolve as a species and live up to our name of homo sapiens sapiens, it will decrease. This is certainly my hope.

 

 

 

4. What message do you have for your readers? 

 

The message is interwoven in my books. I prefer to give my message through a story rather than prose.

5. How has your publishing journey been? 

 

Difficult, conflicted, the source of much suffering in my life. In retrospect I can see that it all came from wanting too much too soon. The ego gets all entangled in the fruits of your action instead of the action itself (in this case, writing) and takes you through a hellish journey.

 

But I am at peace now. I just do the work. I am pleased my books have found their audience, even if its just a handful of people.

 

  1. How important is it for indie authors to rely on good quality editors and beta readers? 

 

It depends on how long you have been writing for and how careful you are in your writing. Writing is at least 50% rewriting and constant revision. If you are the kind of writer that is not content with any sentence, paragraph, image, dialogue, or any part of the plot, of if a character seems unintentionally insincere, and keeps working at it till it satisfies, then the need for an editor is far less than if you write in a hurry and are in a toot to get it published. I have always slightly resented editors, although I have benefited from others as well. In general, it is always good to get a second opinion because you can get so caught up in your work as to lose perspective.

 

I believe that Time is the greatest editor of all. If you let something sit for a while you automatically get distance from it and can go back to it with a new, more objective eye. This is one reason why I work on several books at the same time, moving from one to the other after a lapse of time. The book I am completing now, MALINI IN WHIRLWOOD, has been in the making for 40 years! Yes, yes, I know how weird that must sound to young writers in a hurry to get published.

 

I don’t know what you mean by ‘beta’ readers. Do tell me! Here is an interview question for you!

 

 

  1. What more can we expect from your pen

 

I am finishing up Malini in Whirwood, which is the first part of a trilogy; I am half way through the second book in The Sikh Saga Series, The Dancing Guru. I hope to complete the series by the end of my life, if the Universe so wills. There are at least five more volumes in it.

 

Thank you so much Kamla, for taking the time out to spread such lovely wisdom through this interview!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Book Review- The Singing Guru by Kamla Kapur

The Blurb reads,

From the best-selling author of Ganesha Goes to Lunch and Rumi’s Tales from the Silk Road comes an original novel about the life and travels of Guru Nanak, a musician, enlightened thinker, and one of the most beloved figures in eastern spirituality.

In this fascinating book, Kamla K. Kapur weaves together facts, legends, folktales, myths, and over forty of Guru Nanak’s poems—preserved in the Sikh holy book, the Granth Sahib—to form this captivating depiction of the leader’s life. From being seduced by deadly women to almost getting eaten by cannibals, the exciting account presented in The Singing Guru includes moral tales without being proselytizing. Factual details are intermingled with fantasy to produce a symbolic portrait in which humor and imagination combine to convey a profound and entertaining spiritual narrative.

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I’ve not known much of Sikhism beyond what was taught in school and I’ve always wondered about that faith and religion. I have always known followers of Guru Nanak to be extremely peaceful and embracing of other religions as well as nurturing a strong pride for their own. And I’ve found it admirable.

This book was such an eye opener. Firstly, it is told from the point of view of Mardana. Who is a muslim following Baba Nanak across his spiritual journey.

This book is extremely simple to read. It is also power packed with gems. You want to find out what happens. Mardana is a brilliant narrator and you get lost in his stories. He silently goes about peeling layer over layer from your eyes as he makes you want to embrace a simple and wholesome life.

Indeed the allure of a simple life is very strong. When you’re caught in the never ending cycle of work, money, stress and keeping up appearances, it is but natural that your mind and soul will get depleted.

Somehow, reading such simple books reminds me that there is more to life than a mere desk job. There is more to life than prestige defined by someone sitting miles away from you. And that glamour need not mean that life is fulfilling. And that the grass is always greener on the other side.

This was such a sweet and simple book to read. I will no doubt be reading it again. It demystified one of India’s frontier religions and made me ever so respectful of the followers of this religion. I will be sure to go to a Gurudwara sometime and pray for my soul to find contentment.

My Rating: 5/5

#BookReview – The Conversation by Jeff Cannon

The blurb reads,

The Conversation is an inspired book of growth and self-actualization. It follows the lucid dreams of Modern American Monk, Jeff Cannon, that transpired over five days and nights of awakening while staying on the Greek Island of Ithaca. The conversations of each dream answered many of Jeff’s questions on the nature of existence, the meaning behind the Human Experience, as well as what happens next. The Conversation follows a very powerful law of physics into the world of metaphysics; that in reality energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. The Conversation follows this simple law, to explain the natural order of existence that result in the balance and connectedness we all feel. It answers the questions everyone has about self and spirituality on every level. The result is a book that is simple to understand and easy to read. It is a meditation for the modern world.

the conversation jeff cannon

 

This book started off as being very intriguing. I have been exploring lucid dreaming for quite a while. The author got the inspiration for this book while he was on vacation to Ithaca and the dreams that he had there.

Some of the quotes which I came across, once the lucid dreaming part started were stunning. I feel I need to read them several times because I want to truly imbibe their import. I put out a few as a post earlier but I want to push it ahead nonetheless. Here is an example of one:

“The beautiful classroom to existence is that it can all be seen through the patterns it creates. To find the truth within it do not look to human nature. Simply observe what is around you. When you seek answers in the natural order of the Universe the truth is there waiting before you.”

Such a  beautiful paragraph. I am so stunned with what the author has written. I didn’t think a spiritual book could affect me this much but it has.

What I liked about this book was that each lucid dream was explained as a conversation, between the author and an energy, which found the author and spoke to him. I have often wondered how people came to be in contact with higher energies and I figure it is simply our consciousness deciding to expand itself.

A lot of times the problems that we face in life are those we can easily solve. We just don’t have the correct perspective. Sometimes, we dilly and dally about our choices, giving ourselves the easy way out. Without truly exploring what our mind wants. This book made me want to explore. It made me want to pay attention to higher spiritual powers. It made me want to go on a course to gain higher and spiritual knowledge and wisdom.

It matters a lot to me that this book has come at a time when I need to take some hard decisions about my career and about how to go ahead in life. Pragmatism against what my gut says. Professionalism and the tagline of a job against freelance. And I can’t help but look at the sheer knowledge which has fallen on my lap and wonder, there is definitely some higher power looking over me, to give me this knowledge right when I need it.

The author writes in simple language, which is easy to understand and imbibe. I am going to take my notes and share it with everyone on this blog so that it helps the collective blogsphere at once.

This book can be found on AMAZON

Also, the author is holding a Giveaway and one lucky winner will get a signed copy of The Conversation

Enter in the Giveaway HERE

My Rating: 5/5

5 star

 

 

This book can be found on AMAZON

Also, the author is holding a Giveaway and one lucky winner will get a signed copy of The Conversation

Enter in the Giveaway HERE

#Quotables- The Conversation by Jeff Cannon

“Some moments gain in importance and others fade depending on how much energy you feed to each memory, or how much you want each to be a part of your life. Your desire for a particular type of life creates that life based on the experiences you allow in. But your life is different than your existence. Your life is temporary. Your existence is not.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

 

“You choose to live how you are living. How you experience life and how you remember it is based on the energy you place on each event you live through. That is what forms it. It is why some people live a lifetime in a single breath and why others spend an eternity breathing without ever experiencing what life truly is.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

 

 

#Quotables- The Conversation by Jeff Cannon

“You create the world you live in. That world is simply a mirror of your energy. The energy you send out is the energy you receive. It is why the world you live in is limited. It is the world you allow yourself to be a part of. That is why I am from within you. It is why I am a part of you while still being from without you.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

“A mile is but an inch if you step back far enough. No matter where you go the energy of you is always there. In truth, we are all just moments away from wherever we are going. The true distance is in knowing why we are going there.”

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

“Each one of us experiences the events of our existence from a unique perspective. Your perspective is different from that of anyone else. No matter how slight the difference, each of our experiences vary. And that minute difference makes all the difference in the universe. Understanding your perspective is the first step to understanding what is reality and what is your reality.

Jeff Cannon. The Conversation

#BookReview Dark of the Night by Marios Savva

The Blurb reads,

It now followed her to Whitesands. Everyone who took part in it with her had died horribly. There was no escaping it. It would get her too. Who could save Jane from the inevitable?
Sheriff Jake, the sheriff of Whitesands, a former inspector of Scotland Yard and world renowned detective, now faced his greatest ever challenge. With the help of his best friend and deputy, Chief, these brothers-in-arms will be tried and tested like never before.
The tragedies that ensue will darken the days of Whitesands. Will Jane be saved? Everyone would give their all to do so. But, would it be enough?
It lurks in the shadows to bring destruction to those brave enough – or foolish enough, to try and stop it. It will not be denied. Or will it ..

the dark of the night

What I really liked about this book, was that the book was written in such an easy way. It had a really relaxed flow about it. I was very much at home with the characters. Inspector Jake is an affable and likeable character. I found the fact that he migrated from Scotland Yard to a small town in United States to be very fascinating!

The main crux of this book, the mystery borders on the realm of being paranormal. Jane finds herself in a quandary. She participated in an experiment with her friends in her aunt’s basement. They played with an Ouija board and ventured into something which should have been left alone. Will those disturbed spirits let them be? Why are they killing every friend? What can Jane do to quell these spirits and to make sure she stays alive? Can intelligent Sheriff Jake do something about a power he has no idea of comprehending or catching?

This book was an enjoyable coffee table read. It had just the right amounts of highs and lows. I am used to reading fast paced mysteries and this was a change. I really understood Jane’s fears. The author has done such a great job of making Jane a believable character.

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

Author Bio:

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I am a Psychologist living in Birmingham, England. Although I was born in the UK, I am from the lovely island of Cyprus.I have the fervent desire to write books on psychology for people around the world to read. I like to make my books interesting and with a little humor as some psychology material can get ‘heavy’. STRESS: WE CAN MASTER IT, is my first book in the Psychology and Health series. I have another five books in this series in kindle store: Depression, Body Image, Drugs and Addictions, I want to Sleep, and Know Thyself. I have just published my first novel which is a suspense thriller. I thoroughly believe this novel, as well as the others I am currently working on, will be a great read, as, being a psychologist with experience (and a creative imagination!),I am in a position to create something somewhat unique.
I Hope you enjoy my books.
You can contact me on: marios.spurs@hotmail.co.uk

#Book Review- A Woman of Honour by Marlow Kelly

The blurb reads

a woman of honour

Duncan Campbell wakes to discover he is imprisoned with a woman in his enemy’s dungeon in the Highlands of Scotland. The disenchanted warrior hopes his last few moments on earth will be spent in the arms of the sweet-voiced Isabel. If only she will cooperate.

Isabel Douglas has no intention of obliging the crude captive. The penniless noblewoman considers herself too tall and thin to be desirable. She intends to become a nun. But first, disguised as a boy, she must deliver an important letter to Scotland’s hero in hiding, King Robert the Bruce.

Together, the pair make a daring escape that plunges them into the bleak countryside in the middle of winter. In the struggle to survive, they learn the true strength of their feelings for each other. But when Duncan’s animosity towards the king becomes evident, Isabel must decide between her heart and her country.

a woman of honour

OMG, it feels like ages since I reviewed a book and a romance book at that. This blog had begun to feel unloved!

I had requested this book on the Making Connections group and somehow, being a short story, it slipped from my fingers and got lost between the tons of PDFs in my Download History.

A day before my exam, when I was looking for a break, I chanced upon this book and began reading it. And I was glad I did.

At the outset, I have to say, this isn’t a spectacular romance. I don’t know how a romance can be spectacular in say 60 pages, or maybe I haven’t read a romance short which has blown my mind. Yet.

The book had a very intriguing start and a captivating blurb which is why I requested a copy. And I was intrigued to find out who Duncan was and who Isabel was. Their chemistry was palpable. It reminded me of my special someone and made me smile.

But apart from that, the problem with a novella is the character development. I wasn’t entirely happy with the way the characters were developed. When Duncan praised Isabel, I could imagine her characteristics only because it was written as such.

Isabel spent the whole book in a quandary about falling in love with Duncan, and about his clan, her appearance, and delivering a letter to King Robert.

I suppose a lot of my feeling comes from inadequately knowing Scottish history, so in that sense, the review can come off to be a little naive and lacking knowledge.

Duncan was a good and strong character, he was tall, muscular and broad. He knew what he wanted and went shamelessly after it. Isabel was conflicted and devoted. She was also naive and inexperienced. She’d been misled all her life into thinking she was a nobody.

I didn’t really understand why the MacDougals were chasing Duncan and what tiff he had with his family. I refer to my lack of knowledge and I’m conflicted about letting it slide.

A major part of the book relates to Duncan and Isabel escaping the clutches of the MacDougals. At one point, the MacDougals come close to Campbell (Duncan’s family) land and there another chase ensues. I thought this last chase was chaotic.

Another grouse I had with this book was that it was trying to rush things too much. The end went absurdly quickly and everything was a happy ending, whereas it didn’t really seem like it. The ending seemed rather forced.

I did like Isabel and Duncan’s chemistry. I could feel the lust and the passion. That the book did not lack. But I felt the lack of a deeper understanding between the lead characters. I didn’t understand the significance of the letter that Isabel had and somehow I didn’t feel any spark between the two characters. There are some books where  a connection between the lead pair is so evident, it jumps off the page. This lead pair however, had a muted chemistry when it came to knowing each other and character development.

I still laud the author for writing a concise short. I am sure this would have been an interesting one had it been slightly longer. It matters so much more when the only things binding characters to each other is a deep understanding and not just lust.

Somehow I felt that all the running that the characters did, diminished the chances of building a relationship. The time span was too short for them to build anything and that was a let down.

Give A Little Love to this book? : Maybe Not

My Rating: 2/5