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Review: Swings and Roundabouts – Bethany Ruth Anderson

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Title: Swings and Roundabouts
Author: Bethany Ruth Anderson
Publisher: Bamboccioni Books
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Boy meets Girl. Manic Depressive meets Body Dysmorphic. Not your average love story. No help needed. Nothing to rely on – no drugs, no counsellors, no therapy. Just Sarah and Matt. Sarah and Matt; two people who meet at a party and fall in love; two people suffering with mental illness entering into a relationship, trying to contend not only with themselves, but also with each other. One in four people in the UK experience poor mental health at some point in the course of a year, and one in six experiences mental illness at any given time. Swings and Roundabouts is an honest account of how mental illness affects people’s lives and their relationships.

REVIEW BY BETH

To all intents and purposes Sarah and Matt couldn’t be more normal and considering how society is made up they are normal but then they’re not in the same breath. Their mental health issues set them apart from society and initially from each other, particularly in Sarah’s case.

Mental illness is at the heart of this novel but doesn’t define it, which is why Anderson creates such a compelling read. Both Matt and Sarah are rounded characters throughout, illness or no illness but it’s hard not to relate to them and imagine them as real. All of Sarah’s thoughts are really insightful and so exactly how many teens (including probably my teenage self) would think at some point. She avoids her friend Naomi because she knows Naomi will want to veg out on the sofa and heads for thin, ‘safe’ Lisa who is much easier to be around without the threat of food.

I found Sarah easier to relate to than Matt, perhaps because body dysmorphia as she suffers is easier to relate to than manic depression (shouldn’t that be bipolar disorder anyway?). Anderson also tells us Sarah’s story in the first person, drawing us closer to her whilst Matt is kept more distantly kept in third person – perhaps showing the extent to which he is sadly gripped by his illness. It’s a clever technical move and really works for the novel as a whole.

The novel takes some time to get going and has a real feel of a debut, with the writer trying to find her voice as well as create those for her characters. I’m not sure she achieves all the goals completely but this doesn’t detract from the piece she’s trying to create completely. Swings and Roundabouts is about love, sex, your first proper romance and discovering yourself through that process. It has the additional depth of both Sarah and Matt’s mental illnesses which are ever present underlying the actions of each character in some way.

A strong subject matter with some truly believable characters. It feels like a debut however and there are elements of the novel which possibly need a re-edit or reworking to combat this. I wouldn’t let that put you off though.

Tantalising Trailers: Grim Anthology

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Title: Grim
Author: Various
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 25 Feb 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

  

A brilliant addition to the Fractured Fairy-tale Reading theme

Review: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe

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Title: Marked by Hades
Series: Bound by Hades #2
Author: Reese Monroe
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: 14 April 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

One choice away from eternity…

For 911 years, Gatekeeper companion Justin Bradford has denied the possibility of being mated to only one woman. He enjoys them all too much to settle down. So when he feels his mate’s Ahavah mark surface, his first instinct is to ignore it. But when he sees the leather-clad beauty in need of his help that’s easier said than done…

Yvonne wakes up naked on a cold park bench in a small town with no memory of who—or what—she is. All she knows is the gentle man who woke her was turned to dust when she touched him. And now the strange mark that appeared on her shoulder throbs in the presence of the raven-haired man now offering to help her…

As Justin and Yvonne navigate the mystery of her past, their bond grows, but the secrets they discover and the sacrifices that must be made could be enough to rip them apart for eternity.

REVIEW 

Continuing the action from Forged by Fate this time it’s Justin’s turn to take center stage. Theo’s brother and companion to his Gatekeeper, Justin has always shunned his destiny to take a mate. He doesn’t want the intensity of emotion he has seen from Theo and Sadie, leaving him out of control and vulnerable. That is until Yvonne.

I adore the whole soul-mate principle and Reese Monroe executes it brilliantly creating the perfect match for the male characters. The mates balance and complete them – utter swoon-fest here. Although there are a number of unforeseen twist where Yvonne is concerned, the revelations are spaced through the narrative adding to the back-story as well as the relationship. As you would expect from having a designated soul-mate chosen specifically for you by a higher power, the relationship is fast and intense. I completely and utterly love the way in which the male characters cherish the female characters. Doesn’t every girl want to be loved like that.

I originally picked up this series thinking it centered around Greek Mythology, with the word Hades in the title I am sure you would make that assumption as well. However, this series is an epic battle of good versus evil inter-twined with an equally epic romance throw in a heavy dose of fate/destiny versus freewill and you have a compelling story-line. Marked by Hades is a fast paced, action packed swoon-fest with plenty of twists to keep you on your toes.

Spotlight plus Give-Away: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe

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Marked By Hades

Reese Monroe

One choice away from eternity…

 For 911 years, Gatekeeper companion Justin Bradford has denied the possibility of being mated to only one woman. He enjoys them all too much to settle down. So when he feels his mate’s Ahavah mark surface, his first instinct is to ignore it. But when he sees the leather-clad beauty in need of his help that’s easier said than done…

Yvonne wakes up naked on a cold park bench in a small town with no memory of who—or what—she is. All she knows is the gentle man who woke her was turned to dust when she touched him. And now the strange mark that appeared on her shoulder throbs in the presence of the raven-haired man now offering to help her…

As Justin and Yvonne navigate the mystery of her past, their bond grows, but the secrets they discover and the sacrifices that must be made could be enough to rip them apart for eternity. 

Goodreads  Amazon  B&N  Entangled 

Entangled Embrace: Facebook/Twitter: @EPEmbrace/Steals and Deals

Author Bio:  Originally from Minnesota, Reese Monroe currently enjoys living in the sunny Arizona desert with her husband of seventeen years and her loveable Shetland Sheep dog, Maddux. Monroe holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. When she’s not busy writing her next trilogy, she can be found pounding the pavement, training to run her first marathon.

Reese Monroe is a contributing blogger at the widely popular siteNew Adult Alley and has been part of the New Adult revolution for years having penned over thirty novels in the exciting new category.

Connect with Reese onTwitter, throughFacebook or herwebsite. Reese also writes as Lynn Rush and you can find her alter egohere.

 Website Blog  Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

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Marked by Fate prize pack including: a Marked By Fate necklace, $10 Starbucks gift card and a $10 iTunes gift card (if the winner is intl a $25 Amazon gift card will be substituted for the prize pack)

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Spotlight: Intoxicated by Monica Murphy

spotlight (2)We are so excited to share the cover for Monica Murphy’s INTOXICATED with you all! INTOXICATED is a sexy Contemporary Romance novella in Monica’s The Billionaire Bachelors Club Series, published by Avon Impulse. Available for Pre-Order: Links Below :)

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ABOUT INTOXICATED

New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy wraps up her sexy Billionaire Bachelors Club series with a wedding to remember. But this time, they’re not bachelors anymore, and the groom … is one of them.

It’s Gage and Marina’s wedding day, but wedded bliss seems a long way off: Ivy’s just gone into labor. Marina’s missing her matron of honor. And Bryn’s giving Matt the silent treatment.

It’s up to Archer, Gage, and Matt to make sure this day goes off without a hitch. But between brides and babies, there’s the not-so-little issue of the million-dollar bet to attend to. If only they can figure out who won … and who’s paying up. Is everyone a winner? Or will someone leave broke—and brokenhearted?

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Pre-Order Links: AMAZON US/AMAZON CAN/AMAZON UK/BARNES AND NOBLE/iTUNES

EXCERPT

ABOUT MONICA MURPHY

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Image Received from InkSlingerPR

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

 Links: Website/Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Author Goodreads/Amazon author page