Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: "Blaze a Trail" by Claire Boston



They’re from the opposite ends of town but they’re worlds apart.

Zita Flanagan wants more. She wants to help more Central American refugees and make more of an impact. But her family comes first and fulfilling her own dreams seems impossible.

David Randall leads a privileged life and knows nothing about refugee issues. When he meets dynamic, sexy Zita, it seems like the perfect opportunity to learn. Zita’s passion for helping those less fortunate and her selfless devotion to the girls her mother fosters brings David’s life sharply into perspective.

Zita soon realizes that David is so much more than a rich boy. She begins to trust him with her foster sisters’ stories, and her own hopes and dreams. But when David’s father announces he’s running for governor and the focus of his campaign is the ‘refugee problem’, Zita has grave concerns for her sisters’ safety. Then David’s betrayal exposes secrets, and it becomes a race against time to save lives.

Can David convince Zita to trust him again, or will his mistake put the life of the woman he loves in jeopardy?


Do you know what I like to see in a contemporary romance book? Great characters? Yes. A realistic story line? You bet ya. But what I like the most is a unique story and plot, with issues that are real, that are different from the run-of-the-mill rich guy and pretty-girl-but-doesn’t-know-it thing. And yes, I am referring to Fifty Shades of Gray, and just about every BDSM/contemporary romance that has come out since E.L.James’ book made it to the big leagues.

So I read Claire Boston’s latest release “Blaze a Trail” and after reading another book in her other series (read my review here!) I was hoping I’d get that unique plot again. And I did. In “Blaze a Trail” the reader is faced with the issue of immigration. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like your typical backdrop for a romance novel, right? But in this case, it works. I like books with substance, with a message. Boston clearly has a passion for real-life issues, which, in turn, find their way into her sub-plots. It’s refreshing to have a character not driven by their own petty desires and vanity.

In “Blaze a Trail” we follow Zita Flanagan, the final sister in the Flanagan trio. She is the youngest, and from what I can tell, also the most compassionate. She has a seemingly endless capacity for empathy, but it seems like that is also her downfall as a character. She always wants to help people even if it’s to her detriment. With her mother, she runs a charity which takes in young girls who have fled Central America to escape gang or domestic violence. These girls await the US court’s decision on whether they’re allowed to stay or whether they’ll be deported back to their violent homes. Zita cares for these girls, these ‘foster sisters’, but in doing so, she has put her dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer on the back burner.

It takes the too-good-to-be-true David Randall to make her see that her dreams and desires are just as important as anyone else’s. David is the son of a wealthy businessman. He knows nothing of the poverty or violence that Zita’s foster sisters have experienced, that Zita has heard about over and over as she guides the young girls through the court system in the United States. He’s intrigued by her and feigns wanting to know more about what she does in order to get closer to her. What David doesn’t realize is just how much he doesn’t know about the situation, about how desperate these girls really are. With Zita’s help, he gets a first-hand look at the struggle that she goes through with every girl seeking asylum.

Overall, I liked the book. The characters were well-developed and I could picture both Zita and David as real people. They’re likable characters with no major flaws that would leave a bad taste in a reader’s mouth. As I’ve stated before, Boston’s style of writing is very easy to read, and I ended up finishing the book in two days.

I must confess, though, that on occasion I did find the dialogue, and consequently the whole scene, a bit stilted. It felt rushed and forced in some places, which left me with a sense of dissatisfaction of sorts. I wanted these scenes to be more detailed, I wanted to become truly immersed in the world, and invest myself emotionally with the characters.

The only time I really felt that amazing I need to read the next page, next chapterfeeling was when I got to the final few chapters of the book. That was when things truly happened, when everything Zita had been working toward came to fruition.

If you like contemporary romances that have a little less steam and a little more substance, I’d recommend Boston’s writing to you.



About Claire... 


Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read her mother handed her Hot Ice by Nora Roberts and Claire instantly fell in love with romance novels.


The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and she struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for her creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.

When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby but adorable Australian bulldog.

Claire loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at her website, www.claireboston.com on Twitter, @clairebauthor and on Facebook www.facebook.com/clairebostonauthor. You can also join her reader group at http://eepurl.com/Z4-4z.




Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Release: "Blaze a Trail" by Claire Boston

They’re from the opposite ends of town but they’re worlds apart.

Zita Flanagan wants more. She wants to help more Central American refugees and make more of an impact. But her family comes first and fulfilling her own dreams seems impossible.

David Randall leads a privileged life and knows nothing about refugee issues. When he meets dynamic, sexy Zita, it seems like the perfect opportunity to learn. Zita’s passion for helping those less fortunate and her selfless devotion to the girls her mother fosters brings David’s life sharply into perspective.

Zita soon realizes that David is so much more than a rich boy. She begins to trust him with her foster sisters’ stories, and her own hopes and dreams. But when David’s father announces he’s running for governor and the focus of his campaign is the ‘refugee problem’, Zita has grave concerns for her sisters’ safety. Then David’s betrayal exposes secrets, and it becomes a race against time to save lives.

Can David convince Zita to trust him again, or will his mistake put the life of the woman he loves in jeopardy?



The buzz of people talking about the symposium was music to Zita Flanagan’s ears. She smiled. The subject of immigration was definitely a hot topic and one that needed discussing. She took a glass of red wine from the passing waiter and moved toward her mother, who was chatting with a group of migrant advocates.
“The presenters were a bunch of bleeding hearts, believing all the lies they’re told.” The complaint was loud, with a strong Texan drawl just off to Zita’s right.
Her skin tightened and her eyes narrowed. Keep moving. It wouldn’t do any good to get into an argument with someone like him. Especially not after she was on a high from hearing her sister’s impassioned speech about the plight of Central American refugees.
As she walked by the man, he stepped back, bumping into her and she almost spilled her wine.
“Excuse me, Missy.” A hand reached out to steady her and she turned to the broad-shouldered man who had more gray than brown in his hair.
Missy? Who the hell called anyone Missy these days? “Don’t worry about it.” She moved forward when he spoke again.
“You look like a sensible American gal. What do you think about the information presented at this here symposium?”
Zita grinned. People often mistook her for an American because she took after her Irish father with her strawberry blond hair, though her skin was the color of a summer’s tan. “Actually, I’m a migrant from El Salvador,” she said, enjoying the way the man’s eyes widened in surprise. “I believe the information presented was informative and accurate, and I can’t see how anyone could possibly disagree with it, unless they were a racist bigot.”
The man huffed out a breath of outrage and his face went red.
“Bob, everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” a deep voice said, his tone friendly.
She glanced at the man standing next to Bob. Hello, gorgeous. Blue eyes, the color of a tropical lagoon, blond hair styled with gel, and the sexiest smile she’d ever seen.
“I knew there’d come a day when I couldn’t tell a foreigner from an American. They’re learning to blend in.” Bob turned to his companion for backup.
That ticked Zita off. That his comment touched one of her insecurities was like prodding a nest of vipers.
“Dad.” The word was a censure coming from the sexy blond. They were related? What a shame.
“Do you agree with him too?” Zita asked, her heartbeat accelerating. “Do you think we should build a wall, stop these refugees from entering the United States, turn our backs on the people fleeing for their lives and searching for somewhere safe to live?” She was annoyed at herself for getting so worked up. There was no point talking to these people. They were too closed off in their bigotry. She moved away.
“Wait.” The blond grabbed her arm to stop her and red wine flew out of her glass over his white shirt.
Zita’s anger immediately dissipated. “I’m sorry.” She winced. There was no point dabbing at it, it was already spreading. His shirt was ruined.
“Totally my fault,” he replied, with a smile that didn’t slow her heart rate.
“Goddamn it, David. I can’t take you anywhere,” Bob said.
David chuckled, not at all perturbed. “Let me clean myself up, and then I’d like to talk with you.”
She frowned. It was doubtful that she’d want to hear what he had to say, or that he would be able to find her again in this crowd, so she said, “Sure.” Then she went to find her mother.


This is book three in the Flanagan Sisters series by Claire Boston. For more information on books one and two, check out Claire's website


Need a copy of your own?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Looking for reviews

I need your help!

I'm hoping to get some more reviews for "Half Blood" under my belt, and this is where you - future potential readers - come in. 

If you've already read my Dark Series and you loved it, you might want to have a look at my Half Blood Series. It follows the Helheim Pack through four (soon to be five) books. It's dark, graphic and violent urban fantasy with elements of paranormal romance. 

If you're into vampires and werewolves, you can check out "Half Blood" for FREE by subscribing to my mailing list. Just sign up, and I'll send you the link to download "Half Blood" to read on any device you have. All I ask in return is for you to post a review of "Half Blood" when you're done on whichever platform you like, whether it be Amazon, Goodreads or on a personal blog. You could even post the review directly onto my Facebook page!

Intrigued? Just sign up and review! You'll receive an automated "Thank you" email containing the link to download your copy of "Half Blood". If you didn't receive an email right away, check your spam folder to make sure it didn't get lost. At the end of November, I'll randomly pick some readers to send signed bookmarks to.

You have until the end of November to download your copy.



A FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVES

A battle for werewolf territory
and rights has Rhett fighting for his life and for the survival of the pack. The last Half Blood -- a half human, half vampire hybrid--has been found and Rhett has been chosen as her unlikely Guardian. The pack's survival hangs on her completing her transformation, but a Sicarii -- a vampire assassin -- is hunting her to ensure that never happens...
A DARK SECRET REVEALED

Indigo's hard exterior is nothing compared to the dark secret she carries within her. Her haunted eyes alone tell of her struggle and desire to live. But what she doesn't know is that she is hard-wired for survival; the very blood in her veins and the legacy of her father demands it. But when her life takes a violent turn, her heritage and her fate may be the very thing to get her killed...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Book review: Pieces of Perfect by Elizabeth Hayley



As a sexy ex-hockey player, Max was the bad boy with something to prove. As a handsome single father, Adam was the man most women wait a lifetime for. Each man would take me on a journey of self-discovery that was marred with lies, jealousy, deceit, and a whole lot of fun. They each offered a glimpse of happily ever after, a piece of perfect. But in my constant quest to have it all, I would risk losing everything. Only one thing was certain. I’d never be the same after this.


I absolutely LOVED this book. Our introduction to Lily is when she’s at the airport, heading back home after a disastrous weekend with her parents. Even though she’s 27, she’s still seeking her parents’ acceptance of her choice to go into teaching rather than follow in their footsteps and go into law.

After a series of embarrassing and just plain that-just-figures moments, Lily thinks she’s found the end of her bad luck. Enter Max—a cocky, sexy, controversial out-of-work NHL player with a bad image and an attitude which makes him unbearable to work with. In an attempt to improve his image, he is returning to his middle school to start up and coach the new ice hockey team.

Without giving away too much, Lily is horrified to see him re-enter her life in the last place she ever thought she'd ever see him. Her self-control is not just tested by Max, but strained to near breaking point. He’s magnetic and dominating, and there’s something about him that makes her get more and more tangled up in him.

Despite the relationship she has with Max, Lily finds herself drawn to the father of one of her students. They begin dating, and soon Lily is seeing just what an amazing man he is. Lily has always been seeking absolution and acceptance, but she realizes with Adam that she doesn’t need this.

But in true Lily style, lies bury her until she doesn’t know what's the truth and what's fiction. Her feelings for both men are fluid, and just when she thinks she can break away from one, there’s something she learns that simply drags her back in again. 

When Lily hits rock bottom, you don't know whether you want to cry for her, or tell her she got exactly what she deserved. If she thought she was innocent in the whole thing, I would have been disappointed with her, which means that I saw her as a real person, rather than just a character in a book. And for this fact, I have to congratulate the authors on their ability to create believable, loveable characters.

Instead of laying the blame at someone else's door, Lily owns her decisions and decides to fight for what she wants, only to learn that just because you fought for it, doesn’t mean you deserve to win. Her journey a self-discovery leaves both Adam and Max by the wayside, battered and broken, deceived and untrusting of the woman they’d both grown to love in their own ways—even if that way is a little skewed. 

The writing style is strong with intense imagery and great descriptions. All the characters are really well-rounded with motivations that make them believable. I loved Lily’s snarky attitude and punchy one-liners. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, and I had to share this little gem with you all:

“If I didn’t get some coffee in my system, I was going to kill someone’s child. And not a simple murder, like a stabbing or a chair to the back. That little fucker was going to suffer.”

I honestly couldn’t find fault with the characters, their development, the plot, or pacing. If I had to comment on something that wasn’t quite what I expected, it would be about the cover of Pieces of Perfect. When I first saw it, I thought it was going to be a soft, romantic story with true love and no real tribulations, but after I read the first few pages, this book was far from an Austin-esque love story. There was love, yes, but there was also heartache and bad decisions, passion and true companionship. I also felt the ending fit quite well with the whole story.

I’m really looking forward to what else these two lovely ladies that make up “Elizabeth Hayley” come up with next. If they continue with this same style, they have a winning formula here and a reader for life.