Beneath Everything – Suzie Carr

beneath-everything-webjFor me, the news of a upcoming release of a book by Suzie is something that always makes me smile when I read it. She has a way of writing which makes every book a joy to turn the pages of, something for her readers not just to enjoy, but also to reflect and learn from. This joy of expression and skill in creativity shines through in her characters, which she gives so much of herself and her own experiences to. They’re the kind of people you want to get to know and spend time with.

Her latest book, “Beneath Everything” is the story of Sarah, a marketing executive who, without knowing it has slipped into a soulless, joyless existence in the endless pursuit of a career which she has risen to the top off but has seen her lose perspective and left her empty of feeling and passion. Stuck in an unseen rut, it takes a meeting with Jolene, a diver or Divrer if you read her business card (it’s not a spelling mistake, it’s just a little fun from their story) from the Island of Bonaire to open her eyes to what she has become. Their first meeting, outside a friends party sets the scene for the rest of the book. Sarah, being challenged to realise her fears and encouraged to face them by Jolene slowly comes to change her views on what’s important and reconnect with her friend Frenchy, a friend with whom she has drifted apart.  This first

But it takes the change in perspective the experience of a scuba diving course which gives Sarah the push to overcome her final fear (and which gives the book its title) and commit to the moment and the simple joy of just being. Accompanied by Frenchy who, herself is overcoming her own personal trauma they travel to Bonaire and experience the vast, colourful silence of ocean diving, which opens Sarah’s eyes to what she has become. Changed, from that moment, romance and longing lead to relationship with Jolene and the final chapters of their story.

There’s so much to enjoy in this book, not just for the realness and beauty of the characters, but also their expression, their frailties and the journeys. Sarah’s story is one of the exploration of life to find joy, freedom, wedgieless knickers and non cannibalistic escalators. Not being afraid to lose control or ownership of the material things that you don’t really want and seek out those experiences that bring real value and meaning to these precious moments we spend on earth. It’s a story of the benefits that taking a risk can bring and never being to be too old, too afraid or too closed minded to try. I particularly like Frenchy’s approach to getting over a bad relationship, she has a “good Will”, well actually more than once.

It’s a beautiful book, something to treasure and not just read once, but to return to again and again. There’s a particularly lovely section about the various meanings of friendship which has been highlighted by a number of readers in the kindle edition, which is worth reflecting on a moments in your life. I don’t know about you, but I love this feature in my kindle. It adds layers and insight into what the book means to people and what they are reading into it, which you just don’t get outside a book club. There are lots of notes and highlighted sections in this one, a sure sign that its come to mean a great deal to the people who’ve read it.

You can catch up with Suzie on Amazon here

or her Facebook author page here

or, you can join her Facebook group “feed your joy” here

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 Sandcastles by Suzie Carr

Sandcastles

The latest offering from Suzie Carr is a departure from her previous style of writing and showcases a confident, maturing author, developing her customary style in order to hopefully challenge readers to ask themselves the question “what if that was me ?”

As you would expect, you get three superbly crafted characters who provide differing perspectives on the books core of how they are affected by potentially life changing news. Each character’s perspective adds a layer of reasoning for the reader to explore and maybe just inspire you too. There’s the conventional one who flipflops between rational and irrational, the alternative, “I need to try something different” one (while not discounting the traditional) and lastly the new age one which takes you out of yourself and challenge “are you taking care of yourself to make the most of now and the future ?” These characters interact with one another through the story, to ultimately affect and influence Lia to change her outlook on life.

Whether you read sandcastles as a story in its own right, or as a catalyst for self improvement, it’s impossible not to enjoy a book of this quality. Not just in terms of the story itself, but also how the characters engage with you. They become real people. They’re sometimes frustrating, sometimes funny, sometimes you even want to shout at them (or was that just me), but ultimately, people you come to care about. I personally found it a very emotional read which made me laugh or cry openly and also think deeply about myself all the time I wasn’t reading it. Hopefully, maybe even changing a little for the better.

Buy it, read it, enjoy it, return to it and treasure it.

Review of Lawyered by K’Anne Meinel

Lawyered

Nia Toyomoto has worked hard all her life to prove she was the best; high school, college, and most recently career, becoming a partner at the tender age of thirty.  But when you realise you don’t have someone to share it all with and that you’re looking for that special woman……..

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by one of my friends from the excellent “My Lesbian book club” on Facebook and having previously enjoyed “love of my LIFE”, I eagerly downloaded the book to my kindle and set aside a weekend to catch up with this latest addition to her works.

The first thing that strikes you about the book is the cover.  Although some may find it provocative, I like it when the cover of a book hints of the forthcoming story.  The intimacy of touch and the trace of a gasp on the well dressed woman’s face while the other woman whispers in her ear summarise the book perfectly……….

The book quite neatly divides into three distinct parts.  In the first, we learn about Nia’s life and world.  It’s easy to get absorbed in the detail and care that K’Anne has paid to Nia’s character, which passes  easily for the reader and keeps your interest peaked for what is to follow.  There are nice touches here, particularly around the concessions that Nia makes in order to pursue her career, the need for a mentor, the importance of networking etc.  Mirroring real life, we explore and learn how Nia reacts and adapts by these situations, in particular, how she maintains her privacy around her personal life.  All of which give the reader an appreciation of what Nia’s life is like, setting the scene for what follows.

The second part is all about Nia’s exploration of herself, her sexuality (and the Big ‘O’) and ultimately the emotions, care and simple act of being that comes from a relationship with the one we love.  Here, the story is more romance focussed and there’s less business, which some people reading this genre of book will appreciate more.  As with the first part, Nia’s experiences mirror real life, with each relationship adding another facet to her understanding of what she is looking for from “the one”.  There are also a number of interesting plot lines at work here with explosions, consequences of past relationships as well as development of the Colleen character for what is to the ending.

For me, the final part was about living your life with your perfect partner no matter what life throws at you as well as enriching your life with more than just the material things.  Here the book explores personal and professional integrity and how these are tested in two specific scenarios.  As we might expect from Nia after learning about her in part one and then understanding her in part two, she stands tall in the face of the various challenges she faces.  I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s about the “changing of the old guard” and looking forward to a positive future.

Before I finished, I wanted to end by saying a couple of things about the editing and the spelling which a number of people have drawn attention to in other book reviews.  Sure, there are a couple of typos and the books editing and vanacular might not suit everyone, but for me personally, it didn’t stop me enjoying it and, please, don’t let it stop you.

Catching up with friends

Diane McGavin 

Have you ever had the chance to meet up with someone that you’ve admired for quite a while, even become friends with ?  Incredibly that happened to little old me recently when the gorgeous Diane and Angela came to London to see the recent Kate Bush concert (lucky moos, my time will come) They’re such lovely people, friendly, fun, chatty, have wonderful smiles and one of them is even a star Author on Amazon with her books regularly appearing in Amazons top ten as well as Goodreads……………

But what do you say to someone like that for that all important first meeting ?  You want to make a good impression obviously, but something funny ?  just a simple hello ? Maybe even a you look nice or its so lovely to see you ?  Being my own woman I went for the totally original – “Doing the tourist thing and shopping for cookies eh ?” and then followed it up with a creepy stalker moment following them around Harrods (They’re so down to earth)

Thankfully though it wasn’t long before we all recovered by the olives in the delicatessen, relaxed and tried the “hello” thing instead. That seemed to work better and my nerves settled  Nearly four hours later, and our  “Ladies that do lunch”, souvenir shopping, (WOW, just how many teddies, handbags, chocolate and cookies do two people need ?)  obligatory photos with the legendary doorman Michael Pinsker and hearing of the wonders of earl grey fudge (you can find it just the left of the confectionary section, just of the side entrance) and our first meeting was over.  Can’t wait to do it all again, lots more, but not before I’ve read all the lovely pressies they bought with them. 

The only downside was when they posted a video of one of the songs from the concert online – note to self must be strong and resist.

Meeting Suzie Carr though ?  I’m not ready for that quite yet !!!