The Forever Heart by Diana Bolianaz

The Forever Heart by Diana Bolianaz
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Rose

Liza is a beautiful nineteen-year-old girl who comes from a strict Mennonite background. She lives at home with her mother, brother and domineering father. When Liza meets Melvin, a handsome young Black journalist, they fall madly in love. She has to keep the relationship a secret from her family because she knows her father would never approve. When Liza becomes pregnant, her world is turned upside down.

This book reads more like a third-person memoir of Liza’s life than a romance…almost a “as told to” story. The main character shows a lot of growth during the course of the book. The supporting cast are good friends for her, and the story itself is a fascinating look at a young adult from a strict family who is breaking out on her own. There’s the dawning of young love, and also the heartbreak that can also come along with that.

However, the style of the writing is very “tell not show.” There are some editing issues that took me out of the flow of the story. This could very easily be because I was an editor in a previous life, so I’m a bit more sensitive to things than a lot of readers.

When Liza meets Melvin, she falls and falls hard. I liked the way, though, that even though they both fell in love quickly, they took the time to let the relationship develop. Melvin introduced her to his family and other people that helped Liza develop into a strong woman. The book did have some special moments, such as the lessons she learns from the people she meets. For a slow, sweet look at Liza and Melvin’s lives, give The Forever Heart a try.

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Love In Chaos by Sam Crescent

Love In Chaos by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After the world’s population is nearly wiped out, Maggie has been able to protect herself—until now. Captured in the dead of night, she is offered to a man. A leader. Only this man isn’t a stranger. Three years ago, he was the first man she ever had a crush on. Her teacher.

Clayton would recognize Maggie anywhere. In all his years, Maggie was one who got under his skin. He thought she was dead, perished like so many others. But she’s back, and he’s not going to let her go. He wants every single part of her, hoping she won’t hold back.

She always imagined love, but she must settle for what she can get. When Clayton realizes his carelessness and that his woman could be pregnant, he screws up. His fears keep him from admitting his love for her.

Heartbroken, Maggie plans to have her baby, but she’ll protect her heart from Clayton. Is it too late, or does he already have the key to her heart?

Three years ago – when she was barely eighteen – the world as everyone knew it ended. Maggie had travelled, mostly alone and avoiding men, and until now had survived far beyond her expectations. Kidnapped while she was sleeping, Maggie is dragged as an “offering” and she’s completely shocked when she’s dragged before her old History teacher – and major crush – Mr Knight. She hadn’t expected him to remember her at all, but he does, and now the world has ended there’s nothing stopping either of them from acting on their very mutual, very adult attraction.

Readers will need to understand that this is set is a very harsh, post-apocalyptic world. There are no hearts and flowers here, no rainbows and glitter or soft, sweet world and gentle love-making. Readers who want a softer or more romantic style of story probably won’t be very satisfied with this quick read. It took me a moment to adjust my own expectations of this story, but once I did I found it an interesting albeit harder read than I had expected. I was surprised how in such a harsh and forbidding world the author did a decent job of creating a sense of intimacy – albeit one heavily laced with survival and the human instinct to band together, not a more traditional style of romance – between Clay and Maggie.

While much of the intimacy – at least initially – wasn’t overly romantic to my mind, I was really pleased when as Clay and Maggie worked together to survive and keep their crew safe and fed they slowly really did begin to built a more lasting relationship together. With the world so completely different to what we’re used to this relationship and the romance/attachments that grew weren’t what anyone could feel were standard or traditional, but I slowly came to believe with more and more strength that both Clay and Maggie truly did love each other and that their bond could survive through anything.

By the end of the story I was not only convinced that Clay and Maggie were perfect for each other, but I really genuinely believed they had a healthy and loving relationship together. That was an awesome high note for me to end this quick read on and while I admit this won’t be good for all readers, those who want something completely different and enjoy post end-of-the-world style of stories I feel it’s well worth the effort to read this.

A good albeit quite different style of story.

Diving In by Kristina Mathews – spotlight and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristina will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


The sweetest revenge . . .

He’s the Swift brother who got left behind, the son abandoned by his father. Now Kyle Swift is a man determined to destroy the whitewater rafting empire built by the half-brothers he never knew, the Swift sons who got the life—and the love—he was denied. Seducing Fisher Jones isn’t part of his revenge, but sharing a bed with the beautiful whitewater instructor is the one bright spot in his otherwise dark plan. That is, if he manages not to fall for the sad-eyed beauty . . .

Fearless when it comes to facing even the most daunting river rapids, Fisher never takes chances with her love life—until the night she gets swept away by a sexy stranger. But when her one-night stand unexpectedly shows up in her whitewater class, Fisher faces her greatest challenge yet: keeping her heart safe from a man determined to put an end to the family business—and the life—she holds dear. . .

Read an Excerpt:

When it was his turn, Kyle was determined to make a good impression. On his fellow students, but mostly on his instructor. He wouldn’t be too cautious or too cocky. He would show that he’d been paying attention, soaking in Fisher’s words of encouragement and instruction.

He gave the commands. “Forward paddle. Stop. Left back.”

His crew did exactly as he instructed. The raft was perfectly positioned. Except the current was faster than he anticipated. They were headed straight toward the rock in the middle of the rapid. He used his paddle to make a correction, but he dug in a little too deep and he managed to spin them three hundred sixty degrees around. They hit the rock dead on, and the front of the boat lifted in the air, almost vertical, and everyone went flying into the river.

Well, not everyone. Kyle felt himself being jerked backward and tossed to the floor of the boat like a fish. He scrambled to a sitting position and found Fisher was maneuvering the raft through the rapid.

“I’m sorry. I guess I screwed up.” Kyle couldn’t remember the last time he’d admitted to a mistake. He’d made plenty, but never admitted them. But for some reason, he knew Fisher already knew he was in over his head, and she’d call bullshit if he tried to deny it.

“Help pull the crew back in,” she commanded as they came alongside the swimmers. “We’ll talk about it when everyone can benefit.”

Leia was the closest and Kyle was able to get her aboard; then she helped pull Brett into the raft while Fisher grabbed Nolan.

“Well, that was interesting.” Nolan shook his head and ran his fingers through his wet hair.

“Kyle has just demonstrated the dump truck move.” Somehow, Fisher kept her cool. Made it almost seem normal. “And the important thing is that he was able to account for all the passengers.”

What a loser. Instead of impressing her, he nearly drowned his fellow students.

About the Author:

Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.

While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books. She proudly tells her students that she writes romance novels that they can read when they’re older.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors, and throw out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants.

Buy the book at Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Barnes and Noble.

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