Suzie Carr – Kindle Unlimited

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Recently, a friend of mine (still honestly cannot believe I can call her that) the lovely Suzie Carr took the decision to release all of her books on Kindle unlimited.  Why is that important and worthy of blogging ? Well, quite simply, because her books are awesome !!!!  If you don’t believe me – check her rankings for yourself.  Her books have attracted a number of awards, she’s had top 10 releases in contemporary fiction on Amazon, she’s a generous philanthropist ( She’s given over $1000 to the NoH8 charity alone) and an empowering supporting woman, who deeply cares about people and just the nicest person you’ll ever meet.

So why would you take the decision to subscribe to Suzie’s Kindle unlimited offer and stream her books ? Well, you already have.  You own a kindle already don’t you ?  You clearly love to read,  so why wouldn’t you want to connect with a talented author, someone who writes with a freeness of joy and expression about wonderful characters with meaningful messages ?  Still don’t believe me ?  Just take a look at this list and tell me why you wouldn’t want to read them all, more than once !!

Inner secrets” – Perfection.  I want to marry Hope and have her babies and live happily ever after.

New leash on life” – This is a book of selfless love, which any pet owner will appreciate and understand.  When Olivia’s animal sanctuary is destroyed in a hurricane, she broadcasts a desperate plea for help to the local community. But, surprisingly help comes from an unexpected source, an ex-girlfriend called Chloe and the only girl Olivia has ever loved.  As they work together on rebuilding the shelter, Olivia’s walls start to crumble and the past catches up to them.

Sandcastles” – Lia is smart, successful a no nonsense in control woman, that is, until she meets Willow, a psychic who’s capable of making her off balance and affecting her in a personal way.
As they come together we learn about Lia’s friend Dean and how difficult it is to maintain fragility of the sandcastles of their lives while embracing the parts of life that really matter.  This book is an exploration of alternate therapies, spirituality and work life balance.  It must be good, because it received the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction AND the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Best Lesbian Book in 2015.  What more proof do you need.

Snowflakes” – Suzies first and only short book (to date) and it’s lovely.  Perfect for the bus ride into work, or while you’re waiting for your next appointment.  A snowy dog park in the middle of a quiet town is the last place Alice and Desiree expect to meet up with their destiny. Secluded, these two women are able to let down their guards long enough to enjoy a tantalizing moment that leaves them both breathless and conflicted. Can their desire further develop outside the fence of this private dog park once the real world catches up to them………..

Staying true” – You have to love Ruby, a free-spirited masseuse who is at the heart of this story. Fiercely independent, that is until she meets Nadia, the two begin to realise a connection between them which threatens to overwhelm Ruby’s autonomy as she commits to this new relationship.  Supported by Shawna, a transgendered friend and Ruby’s gramps, the unlikely foursome embarks on a quest to learn the meaning of love, letting go, and staying true to themselves.

The Journey Somewhere” – This is a slightly unusual story from Suzie, it’s her first and only sequel (to Tangerine Twist) At first site, Kelly looks to have it all, life is stable and easy. But, then an ex girlfriend, the beautiful Becca James, comes back into town.   Everything is set to change when she offers Kelly the opportunity of a lifetime, to photograph her while on tour.  It’s quite literally the story of a Journey somewhere !!

The muse” – this book could have been written for my friend Karen.  Our Heroine, Carefree Janey’s life takes a daring turn when she enters the world of social media shortly after meeting the alluringly sexy Eva.  Flirting online is one thing, but can Carefree Janey battle the demons of her bullied past and overcome them to reveal her true identity to Eva and live her happily ever after ?  This book delves into the traumatic world of bullying, along with sexuality and social psychology.

Two feet of the ground” – This book is quite simply hilarious !!! Lauren is madly in love with Paula. She’s sexy, adventurous and the hero to her son, Owen. And its mutual.  There’s just one thing….. Paula has accepted a job offer across the country and Lauren is afraid of flying.  Oh and Owen doesn’t want to leave his friends and lets not forget the best friend who depends on her too. How on earth are these two ever going to have their happy ending ?

The Fiche Room” – We join Emma just as she is about to marry her college sweetheart, destined to become president of her dads organisation.  Then the liberating Haley comes into her life and quite literally turns her world upside-down and cause her to question and reinvent herself.  This is a wonderful story not just of love, but of having the courage to change for the better and challenge peoples expectations.

The dance” – This book is simply exquisite.  A stunningly moving story of love after loss.  In the wake of a tragedy which derails their lives, Jacky focusses all her attention on stepdaughter Sophie.  But they’re suffocating each other as they struggle to overcome the loss of Sophies mother.  Enter Brooke a beekeeper who contacts Jacky to help train her overly-protective dog, Bee.  Just as they learn to open up and dance with life again, a hurtful truth reveals itself. Will this truth set them free or unravel all they’ve come to learn about life?

The Dance – Suzie Carr

the danceFor me, every release of a book by Suzie is pretty special.  I even have my own routine.  It has to be Sunday morning when I first read it.  I pile all the cushions into the corner of my sofa, make myself a hot chocolate in a wide cup and stuff it full of as many marshmallows as I can.  I keep a box of tissues close by (because I know I’m going to cry) and then one, just one milk chocolate hobnob as a treat when I’ve finished.  I have to read it in my big green sloppy jumper, which I can tuck my knees into.   It might not seem much, but these are important details to get right.

Time simply stopped when I read this wonderful book. Literally stopped.  The first clues I had as to how long it had been and how it had completely captured me was when I looked over to my right, at my cup of hot chocolate, stuffed with marshmallows, which had gone cold and solidified.  To my left, there was a pile of used tissues from the impact of the sudden loss early in the book had made.  It was a perfect Sunday.

The first thing you notice about “the dance” is the stunning cover photo.  It’s simply a beautiful close up shot of nature, which hints at the message of the book to come.  A bee, captured in the moment, going about it’s everyday business.  Fragile.  Unaware of the events on a wider scale that impact it.  Just being.  Moving on, with selfless compassion.

We first meet Jacky and Sophie, whose world collapses when Drew, Sophie’s mother and Jacky, Drew’s partner is killed in a car crash after a sharp exchange with Jacky.  The sense of hurt and regret that Jacky feels is the first effect of loss that Suzie explores, along with the fractious nature of Jacky’s relationship with Sophie who overhears a conversation between her parents that changes her feelings towards her stepmother.

This is more than a book about coping or surviving with loss though.  It’s about moving on, letting go of that moment of pain and opening your heart up to the possibilities love can bring through living in the moment of something so powerfully simple as nature.  Suzie treats us to two superbly crafted, beautifully matched characters who come to find each other through Jacky’s abilities as a “dog whisperer” and Brookes need to treat her over protective dog “Bee”.  From their initial encounter, you just want them to fit together.   Then there’s the wonderful supporting characters of Brookes Nana and Jacky’s stepdaughter Sophie, who each add new layers to the story through their own personal demons.  Writing with confidence and enviable skill, Suzie lets the book flow exquisitely between them.  We get to see Jacky and Sophie healing through  Brooke’s love and belief that mother nature is the ultimate nurturer. Then there’s Brooke herself, whose role changes as their story unfolds and we get to see her insecurities in trusting Jacky as a new partner.  Let’s not forget the wonderful Nana too, who brings a wisdom that only age can know.

It’s a beautifully told and well thought out, gentle love story, whose characters speak to you as a reader on a number of different levels.  But the simplest one is the one that the front cover hints at, where the plight of bees is a metaphor for a better world   It’s just exquisite. I hope you give yourself the chance to read it and you let its message into your heart.  It’s simply beautiful.

You can get it on amazon by clicking here  – you really should.

Review of It’s only love – Diane Marina

It's only love

Do you remember those moments from your childhood when the excitement of an event was all you could think about ?  Even better, when the event finally came, and lived upto your expectations and stayed with you forever ?  It was like this for me with this book.  I just adored it.  I first got to hear Diane was working on this last year through a Facebook group that I belong to (you can click on it here) So what else could I do but advance order it and eagerly await for it to appear in my download queue ?

After her success with “How still my love“, this book see’s Diane return to writing not just one, but a collection of 5 shorter stories, released as one volume.  One of these, Imperial hotel, has been released previously, but to be honest, I didn’t mind this as it’s by some way my favourite  short story. As an added bonus, you also get an excerpt of “How still my love” to enjoy at the end.  Really nice addition.  Even if you’re not a fan, this latest book is well worth checking out.  Diane has a really versatile writing style, which is showcased in beautiful scenes featuring a wonderful wicked sense of humour.  She writes the kind of books I would love to be able to write myself.

Let me tell you a little about her latest release, while trying not give too much away…..

Italian Summer tells the story of Jessica, a young woman who escapes to Italy to recover from a break-up with Keira.  Staying at the wonderfully named “Appartamenti della Cinque Lune” she explores the local tourist sights, before meeting Antonella, a local tour guide who lives in the apartment next door.  This is a story about how “the one” can utterly change your life, making you alive to the possibilities of taking chances and living in the moment.  It’s beautifully framed by Diane’s signature ability to create a scene and rich, intriguing characters, leaving you the chance to create your own sequel and backstories.  (For me one of the best things about a short story)  As anyone who knows me would tell you, its my favourite of the set, right in my comfort zone and preferred genre,  I would definitely fly to meet Antonella – yummy !!!

Sweet girl.  This story, written for some friends of the author, (who share a fondness for all things confectionary) see’s Mandy, a local confectioner, fall for Skylar, a woman, who I’m not afraid to admit, wears mascara the way I want to !!!  There’s more to Skylar than meets the eye though and soon Mandy wonders if “sugar and spice, really is all that’s nice”, or whether, in the books penultimate scene whether Skylars betrayal was just “sugar loving”.   This was an intriguing story  for me, whose twist, when it was revealed took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  I like that. It was a nice touch, which again, drew me to the characters and the possibility of their follow on story, but in a different way to the first.  I also found myself wondering whether it was a insight into the authors friends, particularly when I read “If you want to woo me, buy me a book for valentines day”  Something only an author would say, particularly when there’s the possibility of chocolate !!!

It’s only love.  As you would expect from the story which the book is named after, this is a little longer than the pre-ceeding ones.  It’s also a departure from what you might expect from, but her trademark writing skills are all on display here.  We join Cameron, our lead, questioning her sexuality after a bad encounter with Evan, who even in the brief time we know him comes across as a complete sleaze.  In an attempt to forget him and acting on a conversation she heard on the train, Cameron goes to a local fetish club and horror of horrors, meets two of her friends !!! Breezing past the potentially awkward encounter, Grayson leads her into an antechamber with Corbin ( a girl she has been friends with for a long time, even lusting after) Although initially a threesome, the encounter quickly becomes about Cameron and Corbin as Diane treats us to some really expressive, descriptive and powerfully erotic writing.  It’s clear from her words that she has really enjoyed this story and understood the premise of this type of relationship, born out of friendship, that turns into exclusivity.  Like the others before, it gives you enough detail to be complete on its own, while inviting you to experiment with the characters after you finish, but in a very different genre.  Personally, I really enjoyed this one and can see why Diane has named the book after it.   I loved the names of two of the protagonists and the concept of the story – Cameron and Corbin.  If you’re from the UK, this alone makes the whole book worth buying and reading !!!   It’s just typically Diane, different, edgy, thoroughly enjoyable and one I’m sure her fans will love and why not ?

Blue lamp.  Continuing on with the edgy theme, this paranormal story sees Miranda and Chelsea move to Mirandas fathers house at his request after two couples unexpectedly move out at short notice for no apparent reason.  For me, this was the most different of all the four stories and one that I hadn’t expected to enjoy as much I did.  I’m more of a girly romance fan than a paranormal one, but its a  well written story with a lot to enjoy in it as well as its very own “Eeeeeek” moment at the end !!! .  Told separately Miranda’s and Chelsea’s viewpoints, I’m told that it really captures the essence of how possession and channelling feel from a spiritually open and sensitive persons viewpoint (Chelsea) counterplaying it with the more  questioning and sceptical one from Miranda.  It’s positively good fun and a really strong addition to the set.  I hope she writes more in this style.

Imperial hotel is a beautiful love story which tells of the relationship between Joan and Lily in a time when the social attitudes and expectations of women were very different.  The book divides neatly into three parts, their introduction, courtship and latter day reflection, with the story highlighting each woman’s thoughts about the relationship during each part.  Joan’s introduction to Lily at the hotel is typical of many around the world at a time of arranged marriages.  Her mother is introducing her to the socialite scene and looking for lily to “mentor” her in order to find an appropriate suitor.  From this introduction, Joan’s feelings for Lily develop as they spend more time together making arrangements for both Lilys wedding, Joan’s courtship and volunteer work at a nearby homeless shelter. Joan and Lilys characters each have a different appeals and vulnerabilities which depending on your own perspective, you’ll find hard not to sympathise with at least one, or both off.  I personally aligned with Lily, not just because of her rebellious nature that is full of hope, but also what she stands to lose in terms of how her life develops.   For me, that made her the villain of the story, who also comes complete with her own “pretty woman” moment, which I would defy you not to smile at !  Joan’s character (for me the heroine) is more confident of her feelings after their initial introduction, but which aren’t enough for Lily to buck the social convention and path laid out for her.  Reeling from this rejection, Joan throws herself back at rebuilding her life and her university studies, with Lily seeking her out again, shortly after the birth of her child.

Four very different stories, from a very talented writer.  One of the really nice things about an anthology for both the writer and the reader, the author gets to take a chance and try something different, without potentially ruining a whole book for her readers and the reader gets to experience a different style with someone that they know and trust.  Overall for me – completely worth a 5 star review.  You’re sure to find something to suit your preference here and if you do, why not pop her a note to let her know which one you would like a sequel to ? You never know – you could end up with your own version of “sweet girl” !!!

If you would like to hear more about what this talented author is upto, you can check out her out at the following contact points.

Web :- Just click here !!!
Facebook :- You’ll need an account…..
Amazon :- Author page
Twitter :- Tweet Tweet !!!
Email :- (she even writes back !!)

Caroline Cossey – My Story

Caroline CosseyWith the increased awareness and social acceptance our community enjoys in todays society, it’s easy to forget that things weren’t always this way.  Much of the freedom and acceptance we enjoy has been hard fought and built on the lessons from the lives of role models who have not just had the courage and determination to be themselves, but also to stand up, broadcast and campaign for the moral rights and justice of a largely hidden community.

Caroline Cossey is one such person and “My Story” is the wonderfully written, emotional and uplifting account of her living in the face of considerable adversity.  It’s a compelling read, which has recently been re-imagined as an audio-book, brought to life by Katherine Fenton.  I bought both versions as part of a deal from the Amazon website, never regretting it for a moment and returning to them often.

Each version of “my story” has a unique special quality.  The kindle version is beautifully written, an honest and open account of Caroline’s experience growing up transgender.  The Audible version, skilfully read as it is, adds a richness of emotions, which draws you into her most desperate of moments as well as the most joyful of highs. Both will leave an impression on you, hopefully inspiring you to find the same courage and determination of this rare woman, leading to you finding the same belief in yourself.

“My Story” falls neatly into three sections, the first tells of Caroline’s early years growing up and her first tentative steps leading to her transition.  The second, tells of the battle for acceptance and the utterly despicable treatment of her by the tabloid press and now defunct “news of the world”.  The third, a chapter in it’s own right, tells of her battle with the UK and European courts for the right to be legally recognised and to marry.  Punctuated with the key events and her memories of the time, its an inspiring tale of a woman looking to find acceptance and love.  The personal way in which Caroline tells her story makes it a difficult book to put down, I frequently found myself welling up or bawling my eyes out uncontrollably.  It’s THAT emotional.   The moments where Caroline recounts being outed by the tabloid press, losing her father and having her marriage annulled are so poignant and sad, it’s impossible to not be affected.  On the newly released audible version, Katherine reads these parts so so well.  its a wonderful way to experience Caroline’s story.

It’s no exaggeration to say this is a landmark autobiography for our community.  I can’t imagine what it was like to go through what Caroline did, or how she found the strength of character to come out the other side.  But come through it she did, and whether you read the kindle or listen to the audio version, when you come to the end, you’ll be cheering for her and wanting her to be hard at work on the next instalment.  Best of all, after reading it, you’ll  beaming with pride, knowing that such a generous, loving, genuine person exists.   A life and a book which our community should celebrate and a book which I would wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend.  I can only hope one day she gets the credit and place in history she deserves for her life’s achievements.

If you would like to download the audible production – you can click here to be taken to the Audible website.

If you would like to download the Kindle E-book – you can click here to be taken to the Amazon website.

You can also catch a video interview Caroline did with the wonderful people at Transgenderzone by clicking here