Review: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

grand centralReviewed by Karin

Blurb

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…

A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…

A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…

On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.

Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Very touching and evocative. This book features original stories by best selling authors. Much of it has to do with Jewish refugees — and also Jews who had left Europe for America, at least one had been in concentration camps. It gives a glimpse into what it must have been like to live those early years post war.

My father served in the air force in Europe, so it holds a special poignancy for me.

While there are possibilities — and even love — it is not an easy life or an easy read. It is a world very far removed from where we are now, but not far enough to be in the way distant past. It holds too many memories.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Review: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan

love bitesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: This is Valeria Kogan’s debut collection of short stories which all centre on love, from heartbreak to redemption, this is what love is all about whether the people in the stories love each other at all, or start out that way and grow apart later on. There are many elements to love and these stories deal with them; secrets, guilt, jealousy, deception and mistrust. As the stories are written in a no nonsense way, this is a collection of shorts for a real modern woman.

Review: In all there are eleven stories where no one knows how a love affair will end. Valeria was born in Russia and has since moved to the UK where she learned to appreciate art and literature. Other than Love Bites, she is working on her new novel, ‘Bi-Pole-Ar’ which is a semi-biographical look at mental health issues and how other people see us. Valeria thinks that by writing a series of short works, she was also writing her first novel and she would be right. Every author has created small tasters to get potential readers use to their style of writing, and Valeria’s style can easily be seen here. Valeria saw the need to create several different narratives with outcomes that could never be predictable. She wanted do see what would happen if she had no pre conceive idea of how the stories would evolve. Love means different things to different people. In Silent, Carla has a husband, evolving around him as a full grown woman who bears children, but calamity strikes the family causing the silence she has come to expect. Nip & Tuck has a man telling his story of how he wanted to change his wife’s looks, her body by using cosmetic surgery as a beautifying tool, eventually coming to regret his decision. Mute is about a woman who was struck dumb when she first met a man and her intoxication with him that urges her to get his name tattooed on her skin. Tonight has a woman who decides that tonight will be the last time she will act as a prostitute, but the fact that she is dreading it tells you something about the person. Matrimony has Tessa wondering what sort of wedding she wants with the man in her life. Each story is matter-of-fact, and honest showing these diverse women and men of what they think love is and the trouble they have getting into the stereotypical woman/man role in society and the result of it.

Good Bits:

  • Silent is beauty stricken with tragedy.
  • Nip & Tuck is a case of never gilding a lily.
  • Mute is part prose, part poetry and all heart!

Summary: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories is an interesting look at the lives of eleven people who are each as different as the rest. They all appreciate men and women in their own way, or have been spurned by them in the past. The stories tell of their partners and lovers with me thing that the best ones were Nip & Tuck, Mute, Tonight and Matrimony. The cover art is of a beautiful woman, bound and with her eyes covered ready to cut the red thread of time with her latex gloved hands. It is a deceptive cover in that it looks like the sort that would grace a slipstream horror novel, and there is nothing horrific about the stories in here.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories

Review: One Mad Night Anthology by Julia London

one mad night

One Mad Night

Chelsea Crawford and Ian Rafferty are high profile ad execs in cutthroat competition for a client. When a major winter storm puts New York City on lockdown, the two rivals have to make it through the night together-oh, the many ways in which opposites attract…

Review: Julia London is an author I love to read. In this book, I really enjoyed Chelsea and Ian as a couple. They were competitive, and tried to one-up each other all the time, but they weren’t nasty about it. They played fair which was sexy. Even when the outcomes weren’t what one or the other wanted they would use the defeat to push forward and do better next time. Their chemistry sparkled and as I read I wanted them to hurry up and kiss already! Good thing they get snowed-in because it gave them both the push they needed to succeed at love.

The two leads were very likable. Ian had a very strong sense of right and wrong. He likes to win but he doesn’t like to win by default or get handed things. Chelsea wasn’t whiny. She had a lot of dignity and high standards.

[Rating:5]

The Bridesmaid – Bonus Novella

Kate Preston has just moved to New York. Joe Firretti is contemplating a move to Seattle. When the weather wreaks havoc with transportation systems, Kate and Joe meet as they are both trying to rent the last car available… As Kate races to make her best friend’s wedding, and Joe races to a life-altering job interview, it looks like together is the only way they’ll make it at all

Review: This book was not in the digital ARC I received.

Buy: One Mad Night: A Novella

Get into bed with Julia London (a delicious author interview) to learn more about the author and this book in particular!

Review: Better Date Than Never by Susan Hatler

better date than neverReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Boxed Set (Books 1 – 6)

All Books are written are in the first person.

Book One:  Love at First Date

Ellen is trying to find love that will end in marriage.  In doing a favor for a friend, she has to make an emergency trip.  It’s a story where you need to be open for anything – you may just surprise yourself.  It’s a cute story where if you have a four-legged friend you might want to cuddle and it will also have you chuckling.  Susan gives you a sweet ending.  This is a great first story to start off this bundle and it’s done without any sex scenes.  It takes on the idea of online dating and shows that sometimes another option is better – so keep your mind open.

Book Two:  Truth or Date

Gina is Ellen’s friend and this is her story.  They’re getting ready for a wedding and Gina’s getting ready to move on with her life.  She’s like most of us that worry about weight and how it looks to others – even though personally I wouldn’t mind being her size.  This author has a devious mind – she puts Gina into a situation that some women wouldn’t mind having.  It may even take you back in time to what you did with your own girlfriends.

Book Three:  My Last Blind Date

This story is about Rachel, another friend of Ellen’s.  The setting for this story is Valentine’s Day.  Rachel is a woman that owns a dog that was introduced in book one.  She is a woman that’s striking out when it comes to blind dates.  This story looks at work connections – it shows that instant attraction can work.  Book three seems to be the shortest, which makes it perfect for being in the middle of the set.

Book Four:  Save the Date

Kristen is taking a vacation away from her job.  Her story seems to be about friends taking it to the next level.  She also has a hard time letting go of the past – so much so that she obsesses over it.  Book four shows that it’s not easy to turn off who you are – sometimes your job is just part of who you are and vice versa.  This author has me wondering if she actually knows women like these friends – if not she has a great imagination.

Book Five:  A Twist of Date

Mel is a woman who is full of energy.  This book is not seeing what’s right in front of you.  It shows that jumping to conclusions can hurt people.  And do you really know your friends or just what you see on the surface.  Mel’s life seems so very hectic – and I thought mine was bad.  Trying to find love under those circumstances can be very hard.  Her story seems to be the craziest out of all of them.

Book Six:  License to Date

Kaitlin is trying to start over but she can’t seem to shake her well-meaning friends.  She has an agenda but plans can change when love comes knocking.  This story teaches you that your name and your job do not define who you are.  What a great way to end this boxed set.

Each story flows seamlessly from book to book, which makes it perfect if you only have a little time and need just the right spot in which to stop.  It’s a set that can be read at any time of year and to read over and over.  Just like true friends, you’ll find that the friends don’t disappear – they continue to appear in the other books.  If you’ve enjoyed this set as much as I did, you may want to continue by reading book seven entitled Driven to Date.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Better Date than Never Boxed Set (Books 1-6)

Review: Fetish Worship by Billie Rosie

fetworReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: This is a collection of several short stories which feature heavily fetish worship, bondage and submission. There are mixed characters in here; a man with a serious foot fetish he needs to indulge, a woman being encouraged into a bit of slavery, a man who wants to be seen as a mummy’s boy, a slave and master scenario in one case, a Halloween prankster, a retelling of an ancient Greek myth and a woman who likes to take dirty phone calls. For those who like it kinky and sensual there are also voyeurs and exhibitionists who will tantalize and tease the reader to the peak of ecstasy.

Review: These stories came from the author’s desire to create fiction with a sensual and submissive edge – with both men and women as the submissives. She has long since wanted to write what she calls pornography and enjoy herself while she does, but that’s according to her bio. By reading each of the stories, you can tell she enjoys what she does, as each character is almost straight away naked and having coarse, rough sex. In Feet, Adam watches his girl, Josie having sex with his best friend. As he is a voyeur and foot fetishist, he rarely makes love to her, so he leaves it to him while he peeps through a hole in the wall, enjoying the sight of her naked feet. In Requiem, a priest tries to get a woman to repent for her sins, but it isn’t easy when she isn’t taking him seriously. He berates her for being so alluring and having lots of men, but she decides to put him in his place despite his piety. In A Dominant Woman, Shona is the dominant type who likes to have her men right where she wants them, and in this case, she can’t wait to whip him with her ruler to get the message across that he, for now, is hers. Billie Rosie has two novellas out, Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Enslaving Eli, while this novel was her first step into being published.

Good bits:

  • The author gets down to the sex straight away
  • Some of them are well-written
  • The stories are very descriptive concerning the characters
  • I liked the settings

Bad bits:

  • There is no real build up to some of the stories

Summary: Billie Rosie writes about the forbidden, the acts none of us mention in mixed company unless that company is also into fetishism. She takes us into the mind of the voyeur, the bondage enthusiast, the dominant male who likes to see a woman made to be a submissive, while in another story the tables are turned. Not everyone does what the characters in these stories do, but you get the feeling there are some who do enjoy letting themselves go behind closed doors. Some of the fetishes in this novel aren’t what you would call normal either, but they do make up the forbidden aspect of what many would call kinky sexual practises most think of but don’t take part in. I liked the honesty of them, the characters with their foul mouths and funny one-liners made them more interesting, while the sex left nothing to the imagination, it was in your face and pushed its way into your living room with a vengeance.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: FETISH WORSHIP: Erotica