Audiobook Review: To Laugh Well

Author: JC Alaimo

Narrator: Josh Horowitz

Length: 7 hours 29 minutes

Publisher: JC Alaimo

Released: Nov. 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Coming-of-Age

“Sometimes a person needs to be lost.”

Alexander Biden counts his heart rate as often as he can and recites rap lyrics if it ever gets too high. Despite what brought him to the makeshift bedroom in the basement of his mother’s apartment, he manages to keep that count low.

But when an unexpected visitor shows up the weekend he moves to Augustine University, the stable world he constructed for himself is upended. While new friendships, one-night stands, and pharmaceuticals help him regain a fleeting sense of normalcy, it’s in a dangerous love affair that his fate lies.

To Laugh Well is available for review through the Adopt-An-Audiobook program!

 

Review 2

This book is surprising to say the least. The main character goes through different changes and phases, all building up to an ending I saw coming only later in the story. Heads up: it contains alcohol abuse (underage drinking), drug and pharmaceutical substances consumption.

Alex Biden starts college life, with a girlfriend at another university, just a short drive away. A good kid, close to his sister and mother, starts experiencing all that, in his opinion and that of his friends, should mean a great college experience. Never one to back out of a new activity with his roommates, he drinks (and likes it), he begins consuming other substances, he has hangovers and difficulty remembering the night before. A good kid starts hanging out with a not so good crowd. He begins a routine, as he admits, that brings him confidence and makes him feel comfortable. Alex finds comfort in chaos and this chaos becomes his only way of living. What happens next will surprise you, or at least it did surprise me.

This is a character driven story. It’s focused on Alex and on his emotional changes – I’m deliberately avoiding words like “evolve” or “develop”. If in the beginning I had a difficult time following the story, I quickly got into it. I wanted to see how far he was willing to go and at some point I wanted to scream at him and even kick some other characters. This means that the author did a great job in sending out a message. Because this is not only about a kid who messed up and failed to see it. This is about all the others who pushed him and failed to see his demise, especially adults.

I would have wanted to better understand the root cause of the ending earlier in the story. This was not related to a specific action, which I won’t detail so that I won’t spoil the book, but an accumulation of frustrations and unexpressed feelings. I would have wanted a better emphasis on that.

The narration was absolutely fantastic. Josh Horowitz is amazing! He does a great job with voice acting, he expresses the character’s feelings and adds the exact amount of “I don’t give a damn” and hate and dizziness to match Alex’s. I loved the narration and I knew Josh Horowitz could do it!

All in all, this is a book with a message, that has to be read by many of us. It is a life lesson, it teaches us what not to ignore and for that I have all my respect for the author and narrator fur giving us such a product. Thank you so much! 4 stars, just because of that one thing I mentioned earlier.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Brett Matthew Williams. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Personal note: If you’re an “Alex”, find someone to talk to. Dare to trust, to believe and open your eyes to the true friends. Analyze your actions and look in the mirror, see if they make you proud. If not, have the courage to stop. If you know an “Alex”, be a friend. Don’t push them aside. Do something or else you’re also to blame. And seek help.

 

 

JC Alaimo is an indie author from Buffalo, NY. He holds a BA in Philosophy, MA in English, and has been writing fiction since participating in his high school literary magazine. He enjoys listening to hip hop and spending time with his wife and daughter.

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Narrator Bio

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Josh Horowitz appeared in various commercials, TV shows, and motion pictures as a child actor. Years later, Josh returned to entertainment through podcasting, co-hosting two “Movies by Minutes” podcasts and acting / writing for the “Old Time Radio” style podcast “Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight”. He has gained experience through the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Radio Play series as both a performer and director, and has narrated several audiobooks for Audible.

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Q&A with Alexander Biden, protagonist of To Laugh Well

Jan. 10th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

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Lilly’s Book World

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Jazzy Book Reviews

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The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Book Review: Hidden

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Hidden (Fire and Iceland #1)
Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Date Published: October 31, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
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After a breathtaking journey through Iceland, Vanessa Evanston finishes her dream vacation with her two best friends in the capital city of Reykjavik—and wakes up the next morning on the ground, on a tiny island 250 kilometers north, with no memory of how she got there.
Luckily, handsome and kind-hearted local Gunnar Heimirsson stumbles upon her—unluckily, he can’t explain her mysterious journey either. Nor can anyone explain why Vanessa soon discovers “last night” actually happened a year ago, and everyone thinks she’s dead.
Iceland is known for its folklore, but beyond the elves and mountain trolls, there are other creatures: beautiful, powerful, and vengeful, known as the huldufólk. Gunnar has been alive for a century, trapped by their curse after angering them. From the far flung Westfjords to the black sands of Reynisfjara, the answer to Vanessa’s missing year might be connected to Gunnar’s punishment—as well as his long-lost wife, Hera—but the truth lies somewhere in the realm of magic, myth, and love, and Vanessa has only just discovered fairy tales are real.
My Review

I liked this book enough to continue with the series. It was interesting and refreshing. It’s full of surprises and the research behind it is impressive. For most, there may be a lot of information and I agree, to a point, but it was a good time. I liked my time with this one.

Vanessa wakes up one morning without remembering much of what happened last night, which was two years ago. Confused and a bit scarred, she learns the ins and outs of this new place. Gunnar Heimirsson is there to help her all the way. Vanessa will learn a lot about tradition and will soon discover there is more to it.

There is a lot of world building and there are many things to discover. But I think the author did a good job with Vanessa and Gunnar’s story. As a couple, their attraction is built well and I like how the cover matches them as a couple.

Yes, many things to discover and some I didn’t see coming. I liked it and I cannot wait to have taste at book 2. Let me know your thoughts, if you have already read it, if not, I do hope you’ll give it a try. Happy Reading!

About the Author

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Megan Morgan is an award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author from Cleveland, Ohio. A mild-mannered airport bar supervisor by day and purveyor of things that go bump in the night, she lives on the often-wintry shores of Lake Erie with her spoiled cat and adult son, both of whom shed too much.
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Happy Anniversary!

3 years have passed already and so much has happened. I can barely say I know how to handle a book blog, let alone write a proper article. There are so many amazing books out there, there is so much to talk about and I have not even scratched the surface.

 

What happened in one year?

 

Well, first and most important thing is that I have learned my lesson and I can say I know how to manage my time. I know what I want from my blog and I know where I want to take it. I have met incredible authors from whom I have learned so much and I have discovered incredible books. Readathons, book groups, buddy reading, author reader groups, interactions with amazing people and contacts with publications: this is what happened in one year. LBW is growing and so does my dedication and affection for this world I love so much.

Where are we?

This little world of mine expanding and I feel more confident and mature. You will see many more fun facts, interesting articles (I hope) and more bookish news. Even if one of my resolutions is less book tours, this does not mean less book reviews, just more unique content. So we will have a stronger personality 🙂 a blog with character – sounds nice!

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What about you guys?

There is nothing more important than the followers. What I post here is for you, so that you can have an idea about a book or an author, or for each author and publisher to have one additional source of exposure. I hope I will be able to repay the time you spend reading these articles by investing more time in having the quality you would expect from a book blog. I am so grateful for having you guys along for the ride, I am so grateful you spend time with me here. For all the fellow book bloggers, keep up the great work you are doing and let’s engage, let’s work together to promote the books and authors we love so much!

Thank you for being around for another year, thank you for your nice words and encouragements and may your year be full of amazing things!

In the meantime, I’m celebrating my blog’s birthday 🙂 Happy Anniversary LBW!

Time for Pixels: Like a Perfect Mirror

Emotions behind the lenses of a camera. We bring you our Time for Pixels series – photos ment for your soul.

sambata 5 - ian - 2019

Queen Latifah once said:

When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, “You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.” And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.

Define your image based on what you want to become and this is what the mirror will show you.

Book Review: The Duke I Once Knew

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.

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First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

My Review

Lately I have been so spoiled by the team at St. Martin’s Press! I have received so many wonderful books from them and I have done so little in return. However, this year I plan to remedy that!

“The Duke I Once Knew” is such an amazing work! It has the power to draw the reader into that beautiful England atmosphere when ladies were properly educated and had to abide certain rules. What the author did was to give us a movie in words on pages. Her descriptions, the tone of her writing fit that time perfectly. I loved it and I cannot say it more openly!

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 Abigail Linton has been at the beck and call of her family, always there when any of them needed her. She always put her own interests second, because nothing is more important than family. Until one day when she decides to put an end to it and start living her own life instead of living in the shadows for them. She takes a position as a governess for her first and only love’s sister, knowing he, Duke of Rothwell, was out of town, with no intention of returning very soon. Still, life has other plans for our sweet Abby and they are reunited once again. Fifteen years apart has done little to send her feelings into oblivion, but his lack of response at her letters broke her heart. She is not willing to fall down that road, especially taking into account his reputation.

“This is most improper!” the housekeeper scolded. “Master, you cannot mean to be alone with an unmarried lady in her bedchamber.”

“You may wait outside in the passage if you like, and leave the door open a crack. Then you can hear Miss Linton scream in the event that I should take advantage of her weakened state and attempt to ravish her.”

I loved our main characters so much. I loved Abby’s quick mind, her manners, her way of avoiding conflict and always being friendly. She quickly wins the heart of the duke’s sister and also the employees at the manner. Always having a proper behavior, she sets a good example for the young Gwen. As for Max, our duke, he has had to deal with heartbreak as well and for the same reason. Something brought them apart, but can they stay that way? Or will feelings reappear? With envy, enemies and fifteen years between them, Max and Abby will have to learn once again to trust.

Olivia Drake brings us yet another beautiful, beautiful story, with two main characters with an interesting background. The writing style is so fitting and it has an enticing charm to it. I was mesmerized by the world, the chatter, the laughter and society rules. If you are in the mood of a great regency romance, this is the book for you! 5 stars and all my appreciation for the author for this amazing work!

The book is out since 31st of December, so hurry up and grab yourselves a copy and let me know what you think 🙂

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:olivia drake

 

Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.

 

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250174376

 Author website: http://oliviadrake.com/

Author Twitter: @OliviaDrake1

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Olivia-Drake-186133368670/

 

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts

SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/

Book Review: The Gifts of Christmas

About the book:42444686

 

Title: The Gifts of Christmas

Author: Tori L. Wilson

Published: September 17th 2018 by Books To Go Now

Source: received from the author, in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

Audrey, a twenty-four-year-old dance teacher, moved to her dream town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from her home in Florida to teach at Ms. Linda’s Dance Studio.

Christmas is fast approaching and, because Audrey spent all of her money moving out to Wyoming, she cannot afford to fly back to spend the holiday with her family. It seems that Audrey will be spending Christmas all alone in her small home, until something amazing happens. Audrey finds a small gift, just a simple red rose placed carefully outside of her door. A million thoughts race through her mind. Was this just a strange coincidence? Did someone leave the rose outside her door on purpose? Did someone actually have a crush on her? If so, then who could it possibly be?

The next day, when Audrey receives another gift and a letter stating that the gift was from a secret admirer, she realizes that the rose was no accident. When her best friend and local beauty salon owner, Lindsay, pays a visit to Audrey, the two determine that Audrey has a secret admirer and that they should make a list of every person who could possibly be behind the gifts and letter.

Together, they attempt to solve the mystery of her secret admirer through various schemes, looking for clues in even the smallest of details. Could it be the handsome, older, wealthy entrepreneur, Edward Sinclair, her sweet yet shy friend and neighbor, Danny Wess, the flower shop owner’s quiet and brooding son, Jackson Choi, the passionate Puerto Rican dance teacher, Carlos, local coffee shop owner and genius, Brandon, or somebody else entirely?

The world is filled with possibilities, and, in her small town, Audrey isn’t lacking in secret admirers. Will Audrey and Lindsay be able to solve the mystery before Christmas, or will Audrey be truly alone this year? Find the true gifts of Christmas in this cozy and heart-warming mystery filled with love, friendship, and of course, presents!

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

This is one of those stories that should be read during or around Christmas and this is exactly what I did. Let me tell you, it was great and it set me in the perfect mood for holidays. Short, quick, with a little bit of romantic mystery, “The Gifts of Christmas” brings to its readers that beautiful celebration feeling.

You already know enough of what it’s all about from the (quite) log description, so instead I will talk about the atmosphere. This is the best thing in this book. The author has the perfect descriptions to create that small town comfort, with friendly neighbors, everybody knowing everybody else, the warm welcoming and so much more. Audrey started teaching at Ms. Linda’s dance Studio just a few months ago and her move to Jackson Hole has been quite a pain for her financials. Her fear of not being able to fit in was quickly forgotten when she met the friendly townsfolk, especially her best friends Lindsay and Danny.

When gifts start appearing at her door, Audrey and Lindsay are more than anxious who is this mysterious admirer. Audrey will come to realize that in such a short time she has managed to gain the attention of some of the most eligible bachelors in town. The gifts are a proof of how well this unknown person knows her and how honest his feelings are. As in any short story, the conclusion comes quick, but (almost) unexpected.

I feel that there was room for more exploring, at least a few more pages so that the revealing of this admirer can be better appreciated.  But other than this, I have nothing to complain about. A quick Christmas book that will set the mood for presents, love and other beautiful emotions.

Thank you very much to the author for kindly gifting me a copy of the book and I hope you guys will write it down for the next holydays, or for any time during the year, when you need a reminder of the Christmas spirit or just because you are in the mood for something quick and lovely. Happy Reading!

 

About the Author17055741

Tori Wilson is a young author who began her writing career at only nineteen years old. She is now twenty one years old and has had three books published. Tori lives in a small town and is attending college, majoring in art education. In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, painting, modeling Japanese fashion at local anime conventions, and studying foreign languages. Tori’s latest book, The Skeleton Lady, is a romantic suspense filled with action-packed twists and turns.

Book Review: Kiss Me at Christmas

About the book:37638149

 

Title: Kiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides #10)

Author: Valerie Bowman

Published: October 30th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Source: received from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

Looks like this Christmas I did read books with a theme. It is a great feeling, I liked that! Some were great, others were just good for the time. Unfortunately, “Kiss Me at Christmas” falls under the latter category. I liked the premises so much, but sadly the plot was not at all what I had expected.

This is Regina and Daffin’s story. She is a lady of the ton, he is a Bow street Runner. Their interaction starts before the action in “Kiss Me at Christmas” and those flirtatious moments are what brings Regina at his office, to strike a deal. She needs someone who can offer her a night of true passion before her official engagement with a man only interested in developing his fortune, by acquiring the lands promised as dowry for Regina. As tempting as it may be, Daffin cannot even imagine accepting such a scandalous proposal. Not only is she promised to another, but she is also his best friend’s cousin. With her dignity offended, by her own actions and his refusal, Regina returns to her cousin’s estate, hoping to avoid any further encounters with the Bow Street Runner.

When danger appears, Regina’s cousin knows just the perfect person who can best protect her and his wife and also investigate who is behind. From here on, the romance and mystery go in parallel, though one falls second to the other in terms of development.

I admired Regina’s courage to face the enemy and her determination to raise Daffin’s interest. He is a professional in how he does his job, but he is also a man, so cannot stay indifferent to the charms of a beautiful woman. I did not like the action at all. The negative characters were more like silly actors and very poor participants. The threats against Regina and Nicole (her cousin’s wife) felt superficial and not well developed.

Everything in regards to the romance was good, even if I may have my complaints in that regard as well (especially in the end). What starts as more of a necessity, more like a desperate need of passion before submitting to a loveless marriage, becomes more for Regina. It is up to our Bow Street Runner to see if his desires are physical or if they can amount to something else.

So as much as it pains me, I’ll give “Kiss Me at Christmas” 3 stars, just because of the ok romance and our main characters. The adventurous side of the story disappointed me. With all these in mind, I still liked it. It is a nice book to read, especially around Christmas. Happy Reading!

About the Author5414544

 

Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps!

Valerie’s debut novel was published in 2012. Since then, her books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction.

Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English Language and Literature with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally dogs. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

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