Friday, December 28, 2018

Stranded on a desert island with Reyna Marder Gentin

Please welcome Reyna Marder Gentin, author of Unreasonable Doubts, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Reyna:

REYNA MARDER GENTIN grew up in Great Neck, New York. She attended college and law school at Yale.  For many years, she practiced as an appellate attorney representing criminal defendants who could not afford private counsel. Reyna studies at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and her fiction and personal essays have been published in The Westchester Review and online. 

UNREASONABLE DOUBTS is her first novel. She lives with her family in Scarsdale, New York. 

Connect with Reyna:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Reyna Marder Gentin Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

The Old Testament. It’s all in there.  But if that wasn’t available, I’d go with a boxed set of Harry Potter – does that count as one book?

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

A really decadent, firm pillow-top mattress. No way am I sleeping on the ground.  I’m so grumpy when I don’t get a good night’s sleep.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

Although I only lasted one semester as a pre-med in college, I guess I would  want a first-aid kit. But it would not be pretty if I needed to use anything other than a band-aid.

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I think if I knew I was going to be rescued in a definite period of time, like 24 hours, I would probably enjoy the time alone. But if it were open ended, I’d be too consumed with anxiety to enjoy it for more than about 10 minutes.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

Definitely my husband of 27 years. No one makes me laugh like he does, and keeping my sense of humor would be key.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

My computer. Between my writing and my addiction to email and Facebook, I would find it hard to exist for any length of time without my computer.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

This is probably a kind of ordinary answer, but I honestly believe pizza is the perfect food.  I don’t eat it as often as I’d like because it gives me cheese coma, but I love it.

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

I would be okay for maybe two or three days. But after that, without a hot shower (yes, I know there is water all around me – that is not the same as hot shower), I’d be desperate for civilization.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

See answer to question 8.

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

Be the first to order Unreasonable Doubts, a fantastic debut novel by an author who was stranded on a desert island!

Unreasonable Doubts

Jaded New York City Public Defender Liana Cohen would give anything to have one client in whom she can believe. Dozens of hardened criminals and repeat offenders have chipped away at her faith in both herself and the system. Her boyfriend Jakob’s high-powered law firm colleagues see her do-gooder job as a joke, which only adds to the increasing strain in their relationship. 

Enter imprisoned felon Danny Shea, whose unforgivable crime would raise a moral conflict in an attorney at the height of her idealism―and that hasn't been Liana in quite a while. But Danny's astonishing blend of good looks, intelligence, and vulnerability intrigues Liana. Could he be the client she’s been longing for―the wrongly accused in need of a second chance? Is he innocent? As their attorney-client relationship transforms into something less than arm’s length, Liana is forced to confront fundamental questions of truth, faith, and love―and to decide who she wants to be. 

Available at:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Kobo Nook 

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Break by Marian Keyes

4 Star

Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.

He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet . . .

However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge.

For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?

Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn't she?

Kathryn- 4 Star

Oh Marian Keyes how I love your writing! A fan for almost 20 years I was a little bit in awe to listen to her Q&A in Toronto this past year.  Like seeing someone in real life that you didn't believe was real.  But I was also a bit hesitant to read The Break- I had a feeling that this one was going to make me question things and I was right.  

I didn't find it dark which maybe says something about me. I found it sad and upsetting and I found it frustrating but not dark.  

I actually liked that Amy and Hugh were not pretending (at least not inwardly).  They both had a lot of feelings and though Hugh was mostly physically absent for the novel even he was able to impart his emotional state and why he was making his decisions via backstory and his thoughts upon his return.  

Amy felt everything she was feeling with honesty and her path of hurt and anger, even apathy, was natural.  I felt myself fighting for them and yet wanting them both to be free.  I also loved the daughters and Amy's extended family which provided some giggles.

On the whole The Break delivered something new, something that provoked thought and something that even provided inspiration.  Once Amy had moved past the devastating hurt she was able to examine her own strength and even find solace in the marriage that had broken down.

All opinions are our own.

Connect with Marian Keyes:
Website    Facebook     Goodreads    Twitter

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Would you rather....with Jacquelyn Middleton

Please welcome Jacquelyn Middleton, author of Until the Last Star Fades.

Jacquelyn Middleton:


Jacquelyn Middleton is the award-winning author of LONDON BELONGS TO ME, LONDON, CAN YOU WAIT? and UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES. 

LONDON BELONGS TO ME (a contemporary coming-of-age story) won an honourable mention in the mainstream/literary fiction category of the 25th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and LONDON, CAN YOU WAIT? (contemporary romance) captured the GOLD prize in the ROMANCE category of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards. UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES, her latest novel, blurs the line between women's fiction and contemporary romance.

Jacquelyn is also a national award-winning freelance writer with articles published by several of the most popular magazines, newspapers, and websites in North America including USA Today, Canadian Living, Best Health, National Geographic Travel, Psychology Today, The Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, Chatelaine, Today's Parent, and Flare. 

She previously worked in television broadcasting and lives in Toronto with her British husband, however, she spends much of her time in London, walking in the footsteps of her characters, hanging out with friends and family, going to plays, and soaking up the atmosphere in her favourite neighbourhoods. 

Follow Jacquelyn on Twitter (@JaxMiddleton), Instagram (@JaxMiddleton_Author), or Facebook (JacquelynMiddletonAuthor), and visit her website at

Connect with Jacquelyn:
Website    Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Would You Rather... 
with Lisa Doyle

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

How is this a question? Chocolate all day long! Then, cheese (Grilled cheese! Aged cheddar on white bread sandwiches!), and chips would be last. I have chocolate every day.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Sex and the City is one of my all-time favourite TV shows so I’d have to go with Carrie Bradshaw (even though I’m more of a Charlotte York). I love Bridget Jones, too, because LONDON and all things British are totally me.

Wine, beer or vodka?

None of the above. I don’t drink. The taste has never appealed to me

Camping or spa vacation?

Neither! I don’t mind staying in a cottage by a lake, but camping is too far out of my comfort zone. Spas aren’t my thing either. I don’t like people fussing around me for massages, facials, manicures—they ramp up my anxiety (I actually had a panic attack once during a cosmetics makeover that ended with an in-store fainting spell. Ta da!)

Dogs or cats?

Dogs are everything! I’ve had dogs all my life and I’m mum to Zoey, a Schipperke who I love more than life itself.

Coke or Pepsi?

I rarely drink soft drinks/pop, but sometimes a Coke hits the spot.

Coffee or tea?

Hot chocolate! With all the marshmallows.

Dine out or take away?

Both! Dining out when the weather’s nice, but when it’s minus thirty degrees Celsius and snowy here in Toronto, someone please bring me a take away. Lucky for me, my husband is always willing to oblige.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Sneakers. Comfort overrules fashion for me. The pain of aching feet shows on your face! I own so many pairs of running shoes. I’m always on the hunt for old school Nike styles, especially when I visit the UK.

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book. I’m a fan of flipping physical pages, feeling the weight of a book in my hands, the beauty of a colourful cover.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. I’m a huge stationery and office supplies geek.

Drama or comedy?

Both, but I lean more towards drama. I love a story I can connect with and makes me cry. Crying is good. Never feel embarrassed to let your emotions take over.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipstick. I don’t like the feel of gooey lips or having my hair stick to them (sorry, gloss).

Facebook or Twiter?

I used to love Twitter but it’s a massive Debbie Downer nowadays. So much complaining, very little joy. My favourite thing about Facebook is my readers group, Keeganites United. I love hanging out in there. My readers are wonderful people and we have a lot of fun together. My favourite social media is Instagram. Pretty photos win every time.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Plot! I do in-depth work on all my characters as well as the plot before I dive in and write a single sentence.

Until the Last Star Fades


In her senior year at NYU, Riley Hope appears to be on top of the world. With a loving mother who makes Lorelai Gilmore look like a parenting slacker, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League, she puts on a smile for the world. But behind it, she’s drowning. Racked with fears for the future, she battles to stay afloat amid life in the shadows of a heartbreaking illness.

And then, Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. Twenty-three-years-old, British, and alone in the Big Apple after a disastrous pilot season in LA, the struggling actor is looking for an escape: booze, mischief, sex—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. 

As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben so that he remains a happy refuge. But how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?

Available at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Nook Kobo 

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts

2.5 Star

When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes… 

But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge? 

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs? 

Kathryn - 2.5 Star

I wasn't entirely invested in this novel.  Parts of it appealed to me though- particularly the relationship between the sisters and Gina and her parents.  But I was a bit on the fence about the romantic aspect of the story.  I didn't much feel the bond and so the whole premise of her going to Italy and finding her way didn't have me feeling much of anything which left out half the novel's storyline.

Gina is clearly trying out her renewed interest in relationships having lost her husband and while I applaud the attempt to investigate romance after losing a partner it was just too forced for me.  I would have preferred to see her build up her business further or find more depth in her friendships while dating with a new lease on life.   

I was also a bit disappointed in her girlfriends. They weren't as developed as I would have liked and when they were introduced here and there we were given a bit of info that was intriguing but not really followed through- which became an added frustration.

So....while aspects of this novel appealed I'm afraid is wasn't a total hit for me.

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Sue Roberts:

Friday, December 7, 2018

Forgive Me Not by Samantha Tonge

5 Star

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.
But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.
Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future...
Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I was impressed with this novel by Samantha Tonge for tackling a difficult topic and yet still keeping the novel easy to read with a lightness and ease of characters.  

The story line covered a family in crisis as daughter Emma has been estranged from her family for a couple of years.  She created a somewhat self imposed exile when her life spun out of control and alcohol took over her existence.  In the present she is in recovery and trying to make amends, to regain contact with her mother, sister and friends. She has left behind though a lot of ill will from her past behaviour and they are not seeming likely to accept she's that changed.  

Her sister is furious, frustrated and unwilling to accept her sister's return.  Mostly because their mother has been more and more forgetful, her dementia has taken hold since Emma left and she has been left caring for their mother while trying to keep the family farm afloat. 

The family ties that had bound them seemed almost entirely broken and I liked that the author didn't make it easy for Emma to get back in.  We are also taken through Emma's past two years on the streets, her past behaviour and her thought process throughout and I found the progression natural.

The novel touched a few nerves and though it never made light of any situation I felt that it was easily to read.  The people that Emma meets during her absence will also do a lot to create more empathy for those who find themselves homeless and trying to come back up to the surface again.    Can't wait to read another Samantha Tonge novel!

Thank you to Canelo for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Samantha Tonge:
Website     Facebook      Goodreads    Twitter


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...