Dr. Strange Beard: This is not an escape!

Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers book 5)
written by Penny Reid
narrated by Chloë Miller and Chris Brinkley

Pick it up on Amazon**

Penny Reid is one of my favourite authors. She was the one who got me hooked on Romance novels.

When I read “Neanderthal seeks Human”** (Knitting in the City book 1) almost 5 years ago I was absolutely amazed by how quirky and relatable her female characters were and how quirky and ridiculously hot her male characters were! So different from all the doom and gloom literature I knew up to then. [... read more]

Black Swan Affair: When life gives you lemons….

Review: Black Swan Affair

by K.L. Kreig
narrated by Ava Erickson and Tad Branson

Pick it up on Amazon**
“And he destroyed me the day he married my sister instead of me. So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do. I got my revenge. I married his brother, Kael. Now we’re one big happy f–king family.”

When I read the summary to Black Swan Affair I chuckled and rolled my eyes, haughty as I can be. It sounded like such a clusterfuck of drama.But it so happened that I found myself in a mood for something angsty and I went ahead and downloaded this audiobook. And let me tell you, I rolled my eyes no longer!

Angsty Romance is an art and so far I have only seen it done well in New Adult. Because it’s difficult to find a valid reason for angsty adults. They shouldn’t look immature or silly, but angst usually makes them seem just like that.

Black Swan Affair is a class of its own. The angst is thick, yet every bit of it works. And very little of it is down to someone just making stupid decisions and being immature.

After a few minutes I already noticed with surprise that Mavs is a truly likable heroine and not at all what I expected after reading the blurb. Ava Erickson’s wonderful voice helps a lot to make your heart break instantly for this woman whose heart is shattered and who got so thoroughly screwed over. She sounds so vulnerable.

The events from the blurb happen in the first 15 minutes of the audiobook and the story continues with a lot of flashbacks, unraveling the entire mess. These flashbacks are a bit of an issue in audiobook format. You can’t miss the date at the start of the chapter or you might have to go back. But the two wonderful narrators make this an absolutely fantastic pick as audiobook.

I simply love Ava Erickson’s voice. She does great intonations, has a great set of voices and is an absolute pleasure to listen to. The same goes for Tad Branson. Both of them manage to transport the emotions in this book in a way that made my heart hurt for these people. The woman who lost the love of her life to her sister and doesn’t even know why. And the man who knows that the love of his life wants someone else.

The story itself hurts so much. But after all the pain, the ending is all the much sweeter. And I was so happy for the way this turned out.

This book is an absolute must for any Romance reader!

 

Publisher’s summary
I’ve loved him as long as I can remember. The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop. Killian Shepard. Shep. We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life. He’d be back. He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me the day he married my sister instead of me. So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do. I got my revenge. I married his brother, Kael. Now we’re one big happy f–king family.

 

Oooh-Factor:

5 out of 5 stars
It was so hot. So emotional. So gritty.

 

Audio-Factor:

Audiobook = Book
You know audiobooks usually win in my book (haha, see what I did there?). This was a tough decision because the narrators are absolutely fantastic and transport so much emotions. But since it can be hard to follow the timeline, I believe the book is a good choice, too.

 

Pick it up here:

Add Black Swan Affair** to your library now. The audiobook is in the Audible Romance package** and the ebook is free in Kindle Unlimited**.

 

Chasing Petalouthes: Interview with author Effie Kammenou

The Gift Saga

Welcome back to part 3 in my “The Gift Saga” special!

I’m very pleased to share an interview with the wonderful Effie Kammenou with you today. I’ve introduced the first two parts of this great series in the last two weeks (Evanthia’s Gift and Waiting for Aegina). Today is the grand finale with part 3: Chasing Petalouthes. And we’ll get more personal with the author, Effie Kammenou.

**

 

Interview with Effie Kammenou

 

When did you start writing creatively?

That is not an easy question to answer. The short answer would be 2012, about six months after my mother passed away. I wrote as an outlet to express myself and to channel my grief. But I had been writing a food blog for several years before that. In that blog, I not only shared recipes, but also the traditions and celebrations that went along with the foods. I also occasionally contributed to a regional magazine, writing restaurant and book reviews and feature articles. However, if I go back even further, I remember writing a play with a friend when we were barely in our teens. And to think I thought I was only interested in acting out the plays, not writing them!

What is your favourite reading genre?

I love to read women’s fiction and contemporary romance with deeper themes. The occasional rom com is fun too. I also like a good paranormal fiction. And I really enjoy revisiting the classics I grew up with. That doesn’t really answer your question, does it? I can’t pin it down to just one.

You have had an acting career in the past. How has acting influenced or supported your writing career?

Saying that I had an acting career is stretching it. I studied acting in college. I’d hoped to have an acting career. What I lacked at that time was the fortitude to forge ahead through rejections and the moxie to push my way through the right doors. And then there was that annoying reality called ‘making a living.’

My training did, however, influence the way in which I write and develop characters. The way I’d breathe life into a role by giving the character a history beyond the script is the same way I gave my characters in my books their personalities, traits and pasts.

How has your Greek heritage influenced the stories you write?

My Greek heritage is all over these books – the traditions, customs and religious holidays. The food and the spirit of the Greek people. The stories I’ve heard all my life and the experiences I’ve had. My observations of other Greeks and Greek-Americans and the dynamics of their families. All of these factors influenced my stories.

Tell us a bit about your latest release.

Chasing Petalouthes is the third and last book in The Gift Saga. This story focuses on the current generation in the family as they navigate their way from adolescence to adulthood. In the other two books the mains characters are women and it’s no different in this one.

Evvie has lived through the loss of her father and her most beloved yiayiá. Because of this, she thinks that closing her heart will protect her from future pain. She’s wilful and defiant at times in respect to her mother who has her best interest at heart but sometimes tries to force her hand in a direction that doesn’t interest her.

Stella is the youngest of a family of siblings and cousins who, in her mind, are all more attractive, intelligent and talented than she is. She suffers from a lack of self-esteem and that frame of mind lands her in a relationship with the wrong man.

Throughout the story, the younger generation learn lessons from the older members of their family. Many of the chapters drift back in time as far as 1928 before any of the family had come to America.

In the end, the entire saga is tied together in a very meaningful and heartfelt manner.

Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I have a home office connected to the kitchen. The joke in my family is that I only occupy one of two spaces in the house – the kitchen or the computer chair.

I work during the day, so I write in the evenings and on my day off. I’m a night owl. I sometimes can be found at the computer until 2 AM and then I get up to go to work in the morning. I can be a little obsessive once I’m in a writing zone. I hate to be interrupted and writing that late affords me a lot of quiet time.

What steps do you take to ensure your writing is ready for release?

I make quite a few revisions before anyone else lays eyes on it. I have a good friend, who I call my unofficial editor, and she is the first one to read through the manuscript. I take her suggestions and do another revision. With the first book, I had several beta readers and I’d made many changes after their read through. With this last book, I only had two beta readers before I handed it over to my editor. I make a few more revisions while working with her and when the manuscript is where we both want it to be, it goes out for a final proofread.

What is your favourite go-to snack when writing?

That all depends. Sometimes it’s dark chocolate and other times, chocolate licorice. But I’m really more of a savory food lover. Give me a few chunks of cheese and I’m a happy person. Especially kasseri!

I know you are fond of cooking. Tell me a bit about your food blog and how your cooking has influenced this.

The food blog was started because people were always asking for my recipes. I thought it was an easy way to share them and also give a little backstory on what makes the dish I’m sharing special. Most of the recipes are family ones, taught to me by my mother and yiayiá. I’m proud of my Greek heritage and I enjoy explaining the customs and traditions that go along with our delicious foods. I also have other recipes, ones I’ve developed myself and aren’t necessarily Greek. I entertain a lot, especially in the summer, so I post those recipes as well.

All three of the books contain recipes between some of the chapters. I did this for a couple of reasons. I simply couldn’t help myself! But I also thought for the non-Greek readers, the list of ingredients would aid in imagining what the foods in the text might taste like.

What’s on your current to-do list right now?

Chasing Petalouthes was released on June 3, 2018. I’m busy marketing the completed series and I’m working with my cover designer and formatter to create a box set so it can be purchased together at a discounted rate.

I also have notes on the next series and plan to begin writing in a month or so.

I also need to build an author website, something I’ve put off. I’ll be working on that as well.

Thank you, Effie!

 

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A Romantic Christmas with Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited: The best free Christmas audiobooks

The best Romance audiobooks for the season, part 2!

Welcome back to the best Christmas audiobooks to binge on. You’ve pürobably already seen my favourite Christmas audiobooks in the Audible Romance Package. If you missed it, click here. Today we’re looking at the best ones in Kindle Unlimited** “Read and Listen for Free”.

You might know that with Kindle Unlimited you can read 1.4m ebooks for a flat monthly fee (you probably can’t really, because… 1.4 MILLION, but… you know… theoretically). What you might not know is that there are also over 2000 free audiobooks included in the deal. Additionally, there are thousands of audiobooks that you can pick up for as little as $1.99 if you borrow the ebook. The audiobook is then yours to keep! Kindle Unlimited is a great way to find new authors, but many well-known and popular authors have books in the program, too.

You can only get Kindle books on your local Amazon website and deals might differ slightly. The list below is from Amazon.com and I cannot guarantee, that all of these books are “listen for free” on international Amazon websites as well. 

The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you pick up a book, I’ll receive a small fee at no extra cost for you. Thank you! 🙂

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Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk

Add it to your library now!**

This sweet Romance takes you to a small town with two people needing second chances. This book comes to you with a very high rating and is narrated by the wonderful Amy McFadden. I’m sure this will be a wonderful December listening choice for you 🙂

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Christmas with the Audible Romance Package

The best Romance audiobooks for the season!

December is around the corner and it’s time to look for some festive listens to get us in the mood for Christmas. This time of year hasn’t always been my favourite due to family reasons. It’s not easy to get into the cozy holiday spirit when it comes with a lot of negative stress. But now that I have my own little family and a bunch of very fun holiday plans I have set my mind to embracing Christmas!

Today’s post will introduce you to the best Christmas audiobooks in the Audible Romance Package**. Find the best Christmas audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited’s “Read and Listen for Free” here: Free Romantic Christmas Audiobooks in KU

The Romance Package is a great way to listen to as many audiobooks as you like for a flat monthly fee. You can have up to 10 borrowed books in your library at the same time and simply return one, when you want to get a new one. You can listen to as many of the over 10,000 audiobooks in the package as you like! Most of the popular Romance authors have audiobooks included in this and it’s also a great way to find new-to-you authors. Only Audible.com offers the Romance Package, but you can sign up to it from anywhere in the world. Follow my quick and easy guide with pictures to get your free test month!

The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you pick up a book, I’ll receive a small fee at no extra cost for you 🙂

I tried to only pick stand-alones for you. Some of these books are part of a series but work as stand-alone. There are also some great Christmas episodes of beloved and popular series in the Romance Package. But if you’re a fan of a series, you probably know if there’s a holiday episode. That’s why I haven’t included those 🙂 Since I haven’t listened to all of these audiobooks yet, some books have links to reviews from book bloggers I trust. If you want to know more before picking your holidays listens, click on and check out what they have to say.

This list has audiobooks I’ve either already listened to or that I want to listen to in the next weeks. I hope you’ll like my choices! Simply click on the covers to add them to your Audible library.

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Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

Add it to your library now!**

I absolutely adore the covers for Jenny Hale’s Christmas books. This holiday Romance is a little naughty and a lot nice. While it’s a “sweet Romance” (no sex scenes), it also has a love triangle between our heroine and two brothers. It’s narrated by the fantastic Teri Schnaubelt who has a great range of voices and is a real pleasure to listen to. This is the book I’m currently listening to and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too 🙂

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