Saturday, August 15, 2015

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino Review Tour

For fans of Jojo Moyes and the movie Before Sunrise, a sweeping love story inspired by a real-life missed connections story, from the USA Today bestselling author of the romantic women’s novels Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, and After the Rain.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

5/5 Stars
Renee Carlino is a an epic story teller that captures the essence of a beautiful, aw inspiring romance. She never disappoints and that is why she is one of my go-to Authors.
Before We Were Strangers was nothing short of amazing. It was a one of kind story that circled around a missing connections ad on craigslist. The couple met in college and embarked on a whirlwind adventure of friendship and all consuming love. As time passed though, the inevitable happened. Life tore them apart and it took 15 years for them to reunite. The connection is still there, but the love is deep seeded. Together they have to uncover secrets to find the truth in their second chance at forever.
Like all other stories by Renee... This one was rich in beauty and vivid in color. Each scene pulled me in and I could literally feel the emotion seeping from the pages. The characters were well developed and being the bohemian fanatic that I am, they were perfect. It wasn't your typical college age romance, it was unique with some crazy a$$ dates. The playful banter made me smile and the lengths the characters went for one another made me swoon. I mean... It's the love story that every girl dreams of... The modern day fairytale.
However, with beauty comes struggle. There were some gut wrenching and frustrating parts. There was one character in particular that I wanted to reach through the book and shake a bit. Then I remembered that without her, the story wouldn't have had that "real feel". She brought the bitter to the better if that makes any sense at all. She was the added spice that kicked up the angst and pushed Matt to go digging for missing information. I never expected the huge twist he found, but the product was genius! I loved how it was the missing link that tied the characters together like two shoe laces to form a belt.
Overall, I LOVED this story. It was fast paced and kept me interested... While, it was packed with romance, there was just enough emotion to dilute some of the sweetness. It felt real and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

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20. You Remembered . . .


The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and- now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.

I had been closed off for a long time, and I hadn’t allowed myself to imagine the future because I was still stuck in the past. Though it was impossible, I had tried to re-create what Matt and I once had. I wanted nothing else; he was all I could imagine.

But Orvin once told me that time is the currency of life. And I had lost so much of it. It was that idea of lost time that finally made me realize I needed to move on, that I would never have what I once had with Matt. I had to mourn our relationship and move on.

At least, that’s what I told myself.

Two months ago I was walking around in a thick fog of regret. I was going through the motions but wasn’t feeling anything. I’d stare at my new wrinkles in the mirror and wonder where they came from. I wasted more time, repeating the same thing day in and day out, barely present in my own life. I wasn’t looking to break out of the cycle in search of anything meaningful.

Until I saw Matt in the subway station.

Everything changed. I could see in color again, every image vivid and crisp.

Over the last fifteen years, the pain of what had happened to us waxed and waned. Many times I tried to force myself to stop thinking about him, but there were too many reminders. I thought, if I ever saw him again, he’d look right through me, like I was a ghost from his past. That’s how he made me feel that summer after college: someone who no longer existed.

But when I saw him in the station, his eyes locked on mine. He recognized me instantly, and all I could see in his face was pure wonder. It was like he was seeing the sunset over the ocean for the first time. As my train disappeared into the tunnel, his expression turned to desperation, and that’s when I knew there was a missing piece to our story. What was behind his desperation? What had happened to him in the last fifteen years that would send him running down the platform, his hand outstretched, his eyes full of longing?

I needed to find the answer. I had an idea of where I could find Matt, but I was too scared to look.

Check out the Missed Connections Ad Here....


Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women's novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.





Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman Review

The "spellbinding" (People, 4 stars), New York Times bestseller from the author of The Dovekeepers: an extraordinary novel about an electric and impassioned love affair "an enchanting love story rich with history and a sense of place"; (USA TODAY).

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's museum, alongside performers like the Wolfman and the Butterfly Girl. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance. And he ignites the heart of Coralie.

Alice Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a tender and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is, "a lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people" (The New York Times Book Review).
4/5 Stars

This book was unlike anything I've ever read before... It was dark and twisted, with a subtle romance and a thick mysterious plot. While it wasn't at all what I expected... It was really good in an eerie feel kind of way.

It follows two characters through past and present. Their connection to one another isn't vivid, but it's there and it's unavoidable. Eddie sees Coralie in his dreams and she sees him in the flesh. Both are drawn to one another long before they meet face to face, but they have obstacles to overcome first. Cora's father is possessive and uses her in sick twisted ways. She is his money maker and each day she is in an exhibit, is another dark day in her life. She seeks solace in the water and makes friends with a tortoise. Her hope is that someday she will be loved as the monster she believes to be. It is Eddie that opens her eyes and heart to everything she didn't know was possible.

"Edward realized it simply was not in her nature to abandon even the lowliest creature. He felt overtaken by his love for her. Love like this wasn't what he'd planned or wanted or expected, surely it was indeed a trap, for even when you tried to run away, it followed you through the grass and lay down beside you, it overtook common sense and will-power. "

The Museum of Extraordinary Things was a well crafted story with exquisite writing. The Author did a great job at creating a solid foundation with strong character development. While at times it was a tad slow, it continued to pull me back in. The words were quick to tug at my heart strings and the emotions really poured off the pages. The life Coralie lived was hell. She was a puppet and her father was the puppeteer. He controlled every movement, action, and thought. When she finally broke free from his gripp... I couldn't have been happier. It was long tough journey, but in the end I was pleased with how everything turned out.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to all readers looking for a unique read. When I saw it had a mermaid theme I was all in. I'm definitely happy that I picked up the book and gave it a chance.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Darkest Revelations by Charlene M Martin is Live!

*Alert- Must have read “The Sweet Temptation of Whiskey” first as this is book two of the Whiskey books!*

Darkest revelations

Mr. Black also known as Whiskey is a victim of sexual abuse, but not in the normal sense one may think. On more than one occasion Whiskey watched his mother being sexually assaulted.  The impact of seeing those terrifying things at such a young age took him to a very dark place. He began to use whiskey and women to work through his problems, but when those stopped working, he sought out the help of a professional. 
Ms. Langford must find a way to stay professional while dealing with Mr. Black's darkest revelations. Her attraction to him is undeniable, but he’s a client. She can’t have these feelings for him it would be unethical.  She struggles to find an outlet for her sexual frustrations, due to Mr. Black’s explicit revelations.
Will she remain professional or will she give into her
 Darkest Temptations?

To buy on Amazon- Click here

As the hours fly by, I drive closer to my doom. I begin to notice a weight in my body as if I’m being pulled towards my fate. My throat starts to constrict and it’s becoming hard to breath, I’m struggling for each ragged breath. Sweat beings to appear on my forehead and I have to pull over and loosen my tie. What the hell is wrong with me? My palms are sweating, and my heart races with loud, strong beats. The road in front of me becomes blurry, making it hard to keep my eyes open. What’s…going on with me?
Picking up my cell, I fumble with the phone until I find Doc’s number and click on it. She answers on the second ring. Forcing the words out of me…“Doc, something’s wrong with me. I…didn’t know who else to call. Please help me.”
“Where are you?”
Breathless, I answer, “I’m on the side of the road about four hours into my trip.” It’s becoming very difficult to answer her. I feel like I’m going to pass out.
“What trip? Where are you going?”
I grip my chest, trying to stop the pain. “You told me to look her up.”
“What are you talking about?”
Slightly frustrated at this point I force the words out. “My mother’s friend.”
            “Oh. I didn’t mean you had to visit her just yet. Can you try to explain what’s going on?”
I describe my symptoms, and she explains that it’s just a panic attack. That everything is going to be fine. The trip has brought back so many memories. She tells me to close my eyes and find my happy place. So I do as instructed, and I find Anaya’s beautiful face. “Now take some long, slow breaths and tell me what you see.”
“Anaya and her golden brown eyes. Her beautiful chocolate brown hair. That sassy smirk on her face as she gazes helplessly in my eyes.”
“Perfect. What are you feeling now?”
“Good, now how about your other symptoms?”
“I’m starting to cool down and my breathing is returning to normal. My chest is loosening up too.”
“That’s great. You had your first panic attack. It’s probably brought on by the fact that you’re pushing yourself too fast. You needed time to warm up to the idea of going back home. But now that you’ve set yourself on this path, you need to face it. How long until you’re home?”
I shudder at the word home. “I should be there in about six hours or so.”


I am a small town girl, I currently reside in the same city that I was born and raised in. I love watching teen drama shows, reading, writing, and listening to music.
I have a loving family my mother who has taught me about love and lasting relationships. A father who pushes me to excel and succeed at anything I desire.  My younger sister and I have become very close over the years and she is very supportive of everything I do.
I have been married for ten years to my best friend. I love my husband more than anything. He is so kind, loving and supportive. It’s an on going joke, with his friends, “My wife writes porn.”
We have a thirteen year old daughter who is so smart and talented. I can’t believe how fast they grow up.  She is turning into quite the young lady.  She aspires to be so many things and I encourage them all. She loves to write songs, and has even tried her hand at writing a book. Maybe one day she will follow my example.
Being that I am from a small town, I have made some long lasting relationships. I have two best friends that I have known for most of my life. We have continued to stick together over the years and we are always there for one another. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Animal lover I’m not, but I have a headstrong dog named dozer, that is the absolute best-behaved dog I have ever seen, and a cat that drive me insane, but I love her nonetheless.
I have always aspired to be a neonatal nurse and I continue to work towards that goal. Maybe one day it will come true. However, writing has become my new favorite love.
I never would have dreamed that I would become a writer, but some really great people convinced me otherwise.  Eventually I decided to give it a try and what do you know? I just finished writing my fourth book and I couldn’t be happier. I will continue to write in my spare time with hopes of it becoming a full time career at some point in my life. And I look forward to many more years of bring you the best books that I can.














Editorial Review:Darkest Revelations leaves you reeling from the hurt and emotional abuse of a child, only to see the light at the end of a dark tunnel.” ~ Sabra Barowski
Editorial Review:Whiskey's Darkest Revelations exploit the darkest parts of him and when he's expressing his darkness he begins to lure Rebecca into wanting to explore her sexuality. Another great Erotic read from Charlene M. Martin. WARNING: Hot steamy sex sizzling up these pages.~ Tammie Harms - For the Love of Books blog.
Editorial Review:Absolutely BRILLIANT! ...hardcore and dramatic to the finest... highly recommend it to any lover of romance. This part two opens many dark secrets and opens many more exciting doors to travel through. Darkest Revelations is an absolute MUST READ! ~  Dianne M.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Night Circus by Morgenstern Review

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called "Le Cirque des Reves," and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

4.5/5 Stars
Do you know the saying... "escape reality with a good book"? Well this one quickly provided that escape for me. Every time I opened the book I was pulled into a dark, magical world with lots of mysterious elements. At times I had no idea what was going on, but that's what pulled me deeper into the pages. I felt the words consume me and the illusions felt within my grasp. It was a twisted tale, but in some weird way it was also beautiful.
The main story was about Marco & Celia. They were chosen to compete using their talents. Neither came face to face for a while so they threw punches in the dark. They played off one another and built these magical tents that brought people joy and hope. In a subtle way their challenge drew them near and created an electric connection. When they were finally brought together in the flesh their passion was instant and in full force. They felt what was forbidden... love. Their coaches warned them and they quickly realized why. The challenge had an awful twist that left a future together out of the question.
When I look for books, I look for unique plots that will capture my attention and leave me craving more at the end. This one did just that. I was engrossed in the story and felt a deep rooted connection to the characters. There were multiple stories within this one and even though the Author gave them closure, I still wanted more. The writing was great and the flow was even better. I look forward to reading more by this Author and I highly recommend this one to all who like to "escape reality with a book".