Plan Overboard (Toronto Collection Book 14) by Heather Wardell

Published by Holly Leaf Press in May 2014.

“All Corinne has ever wanted was the role of clarinetist for the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. The clarinet, and working to master it, is all she has left of her father, who abandoned the family when she was a little girl. But after failing to clinch an open spot in a heated audition, her life-plan soon goes overboard. Not only does she break up with her longtime boyfriend, Clay, she also makes a decision that will alter her destiny in ways she never imagined…

After a medical procedure and a couple of months of changing everything in her life, a pregnant Corinne meets Melissa and her gorgeous flirt of a brother-in-law, Austin, on a cruise. The heat of the Caribbean sun soon combines with a mutual attraction to create a sizzling connection neither Corinne nor Austin can deny. But when the truth comes out about Corinne’s condition, will lifelong playboy Austin man up? Or will Corinne’s hope for a future beyond a shipboard romance prove yet another PLAN OVERBOARD?”

MY REVIEW 

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give my honest review.  Heather Wardell is one of those authors who I feel so happy to have discovered, I don’t think my reading journey would be complete without her books in it!

Plan Overboard had a fast pace right from the very beginning, this meant that it held my interest easily.  Having recently had my third baby I enjoyed the pregnancy/motherhood side of the storyline as it gave me something to relate to.  I also enjoyed catching up with characters from All At Sea (review here), although please don’t worry if you haven’t already read that book because this also works well as a standalone read.

The first part of the storyline had plenty of sexual tension which then morphed into a romantic fizz the further I read, this made the book exciting but touching all at the same time.  The characters had lots of depth, the more I read about them and their lives the more I genuinely cared about them.

The musical side of this book was all a bit alien to me because I’ve never experienced that world but I found it fascinating and surprising – I couldn’t believe the level of dedication it took to be a great musician, I was in awe!

This was a fun read with interesting characters and a heartwarming result.

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Everybody’s Got a Story by Heather Wardell

everybodys got a story“Both personally and professionally, Alexa knows all too well the power of words. Two years after her boyfriend Christophe’s vicious attack, she’s still trying to see herself as more than simply ‘his victim’, still trying to figure out her own story. 

After his trial, she moves from New York City to Toronto in an attempt to start over, but his words cling to her and even in a new country she can’t see how to move into relationships with the new people in her life while hiding the secret of Christophe’s worst offense. 

She can’t hide that secret from her coworker Jake, though, because the news buff has recognized her from the coverage of the assault and trial and knows every word she can’t bring herself to say about her ordeal. 

With Jake’s help, can Alexa reclaim her story and her life?”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I have previously read and enjoyed other books by Heather Wardell, you can find my reviews here.

The first few pages gave me a good idea of just what Alexa’s ex had done to her and it was then that I realised this book would contain some hard-hitting stuff!  I admit that there were some details which I found difficult to read but I definitely felt that they were essential to the storyline because it enabled me to fully understand Alexa.  I felt incredibly sad for her after the trial so I was keen to see how her fresh start in Toronto would pan out.

Jake was a character from a previous Heather Wardell book Blank Slate Kate (my review here) and I was pleased to see him back because he was really likeable.  He revealed something to Alexa quite early on that shocked and unsettled her, I wasn’t sure if it would affect their friendship so this was something I kept a close eye on.

Alexa’s new workplace threw up some difficulties for her, not only with the job itself but also with certain colleagues who didn’t behave very well towards her.  I admired the way she handled these situations and continued to slowly build herself back up after such an unimaginable horror.  One of the decisions she made shocked me but also made me curious to see where it would get her.

The addition of Stella the rescue cat was wonderful, it was another way to explain Alexa’s feelings and one that I, as an animal lover, found easier to understand.  Their friendship was built gradually, in my opinion this made it believable and showed just how deeply they had both been hurt.  Trust was a big factor in this book, it was woven into everything Alexa (and Stella) did and created some thought-provoking scenarios in my mind.

The author has a way of pulling you into the storyline so that you are unable to stop reading, this was definitely the case with me and I finished the book in no time at all.

This was a fascinating and touching book that I just couldn’t put down.  Another hit from Heather Wardell!

Buy the book:

eBook:

Amazon.com (Kindle) | Apple’s iBookstore | Barnes and Noble (for their nook reader) | Google Play | Kobo (ePub format) | Smashwords.com (variety of formats) | Sony (for their ebook readers)

Paperback: 

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Barnes and Noble | CreateSpace.com

Connect with the author:

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Pink is a Four-Letter Word – Heather Wardell

Pink is a four letter word

“Nothing ever comes easily for Larissa, a makeup artist who both loves and fears pink and all things feminine. She longs to start her own business as her late dad had wanted but never quite gets there, her attempt to host her best friend’s son’s christening is a disaster, and the only dates she can get are dreadful.

When she’s offered a job teaching English in Kuwait, at first she says no because her life is bad enough at home without throwing sand and camels into the mix. But when everything goes wrong at once, she can’t stay in Toronto another second so accepts the job in the hopes that she will be a new and better person there.

But can she really leave her psychological baggage behind, or is it true that ‘wherever you go, there you are’?”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  As I’ve said before, I am a big fan of Heather Wardell’s writing, you can read my reviews of some of her previous books here.

This is book 11 in the Toronto Series and a direct sequel to the previous book Good to MyselfI would definitely recommend reading that first so you understand some of the references made in this story. After reading Good to Myself I was left wondering about Larissa and what had made her run away to Kuwait so I was pleased to find out that this book would give me an answer.

Straight away I was intrigued by Larissa’s inappropriate crush, she was at a school reunion and even at that point it was clear that she wasn’t feeling great about herself – her self-esteem was at rock-bottom. When she bumped into her ex-boyfriend Greg at work she had no idea what was in store for her and after an unpleasant evening which was closely followed by a disastrous christening, her confidence was shattered even further.  I felt so sorry for her and I was definitely beginning to see why she felt the need to leave.

When Larissa arrived in Kuwait I could almost feel her exhaustion, nerves and concern at what she was doing, it had been a quick decision and I don’t think she thought it through properly.  She didn’t get long to settle in before she was whisked off to the school to meet the rest of the staff.  They seemed like a friendly bunch, particularly Leon who was American and very sexy – I was keen to see where that would lead!  As she began her teaching adventure she discovered that one of her students was very difficult and I was so intrigued by this.  I came up with a couple of theories about why he behaved the way he did but nothing could have prepared me for the real reason – I was so shocked!

I really enjoyed seeing Larissa adapt to her new lifestyle, her courage and determination was admirable. She began to realise where her life had gone wrong and what she needed to do to change things. There was a great message in this book about being who you want to be, not what everyone else thinks you should be.

This was another enjoyable and thought-provoking read from Heather Wardell.

Pink is a Four-Letter Word is available to buy now:

Amazon.com (Kindle) | Amazon.co.uk (Kindle) | Barnes and Noble (for their nook reader) | Kobo (ePub format) | Smashwords.com (variety of formats)

To find out more about Heather Wardell click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Good to Myself – Heather Wardell

Good to myself

“Internet columnist Lydia Grange is on the brink of the promotion she’s wanted for two years. As lead columnist of the Toronto Times’ women’s issue site, she’ll have the fame she longs for, the money to fuel her shopping obsession, and all the free shoes she can wear. Only one obstacle remains: beating her coworkers (Sasha the perfect mother and Patricia the bargain-obsessed senior) in a competition. All three must be ‘good to themselves’ for four weeks and teach their readers to do the same, and at the end of the time their sexy boss Felix will pick the winner.

Lydia’s certain she will be that winner, and not just because she knows Felix wants her on an unprofessional level. She’s never anything but good to herself, so how could she not win? Fancy drinks with extra whipped cream, the cheesecake she adores, the exquisite but pricey purse she’s been craving? With the help of her nice-guy buddy and coworker Percy, she’ll just indulge herself even more and make sure her fans do the same. In a month both the job and her long-desired fling with Felix will be hers.

It’ll be the easiest four weeks of her life.

Unless it turns out there’s more to self-care than sex and shopping and sugar.”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I am a big fan of Heather Wardell’s writing – you can read some of my previous reviews here.

The story began with Lydia’s memory of a hot kiss with Felix, now I’m all for a scene which includes hot kissing but unfortunately I found that I couldn’t quite connect with it because it happened so early on – I just didn’t feel like I knew the characters enough at that point.  However, as I got to know them better I began to see the significance of that moment.  Lydia had been crushing on her boss Felix since she first started working with him but seemed to be playing hard to get until the kissing incident.

When the challenge was set for Lydia and her work colleagues to be ‘good to yourself’ for four weeks, Lydia already felt that she had it all figured out and it would be easy.  This is why I found it so fascinating to follow her progress because she certainly found it harder than she thought she would…

Lydia’s life soon became rather complicated:

  • Romantic problems – her sexy boss was making it very clear that he wanted her, she felt confused by her changing feelings towards her friend Percy and she also had an unhealthy way of dealing with her sexual frustration.
  • Family problems – her parents were refusing to accept that they needed to move out of their home and she faced the wrath of her persistent sister if she didn’t try to persuade them.
  • Work problems – the ‘good to yourself’ challenge was much more of a challenge than she first thought and it meant that she had to rethink her lifestyle, particularly her cheesecake habit!

As always with this authors books there was a message to take in, this time I felt the main message was that treating yourself all the time doesn’t necessarily make you happy, if you want to achieve a balanced lifestyle sometimes you need to be a bit tougher on yourself and go without.

As Lydia came to realise all this, her attitude began to change and I loved seeing her transform before my eyes, what happened in the run-up to the end was perfect and left me with a big smile on my face.

This was an enjoyable, feel-good read which left a good message in my mind.

Good to Myself is available to buy now:

eBook format – Amazon.com (Kindle) | Amazon.co.uk (Kindle) | Barnes and Noble (for their nook reader) | Google Play | Kobo (ePub format) | Smashwords.com (variety of formats) | Sony (for their ebook readers)

To find out more about Heather Wardell click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

All At Sea – Heather Wardell

“Melissa and Owen met on New Years’ Eve and he proposed on Valentine’s Day. Now it’s March, and they’re about to set sail on a two-week Caribbean cruise – and get married on the last day at sea. Though their relationship’s moving fast, Melissa’s wanted to be married for years and she knows the smart stable Owen is a great catch so she’s sure they’ll be fine.

At least, she’s sure until she meets his brothers on the cruise and discovers she’s dated both of them: Austin, the fun-loving flirt whose kisses still haunt her dreams, and Nicholas, the sweet horror movie fan whose lack of ambition upset her in ways she still doesn’t understand.

Melissa expected to spend tons of time onboard with her fiancé, but he instead spends nearly his every waking moment in the casino displaying a previously unseen love of gambling. This surprise, and the time she spends with Nicholas and with Austin, makes her question everything she thought she wanted. 

Her relationship with Owen was just fine before, but suddenly ‘just fine’ doesn’t seem good enough to keep a marriage alive for a lifetime. Melissa has two weeks to decide: stay with Owen or jump ship.”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  All At Sea is the ninth novel in the Toronto collection but I feel that it still works well as a stand-alone novel. I’ve read, and thoroughly enjoyed, other books by this author and you can find my reviews of them here. I loved this simple yet attractive cover and the blurb certainly intrigued me so I was really looking forward to reading it.

I was pulled into the story pretty quickly – Melissa and Owen’s whirlwind romance really intrigued me and I was confused by the fact that they were considering marriage even though they seemed to be annoying each other so much.  Owen was very controlling and selfish, it didn’t take long for him to start annoying me too!

I really, really enjoyed the moment when Melissa met Owen’s family, it was just so entertaining and cringe-worthy.  The idea of Melissa having dated all three brothers (not all at the same time I might add) without knowing they were related was deliciously unbelievable and that is what made it so interesting for me.

I absolutely love a love-triangle so I felt like I was in heaven with this love-square, particularly when their relationship details were brought up (I will never look at a playground slide in quite the same way again!). As well as all the fun and amusing times there were some very touching moments which brought a tear to my eye so, in my opinion, the book was well-rounded and covered everything.

Having never been on a cruise myself, I enjoyed all the cruise details and thanks to the wonderful descriptions I found myself picturing the scene easily.  I particularly enjoyed reading about the amazing excursions they went on, it almost felt like I was there with them (I wish!).

Throughout the book I tried to figure out which direction it would take in the end and with a couple of wrong guesses along the way I eventually got it right, overall feeling that it was the right ending for the storyline.

This was another fantastic read from Heather Wardell, I just couldn’t put it down and read it in a day – pure escapism!

The All At Sea eBook can be purchased from Amazon UK (for just 77p!), Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Smashwords.  It is also available to buy in print if you prefer that format.

To find out more about Heather Wardell visit her website here.

Finding My Happy Pace – Heather Wardell

If thirty-year-old Megan were any more of a doormat, she’d have footprints on her back. She helps anyone and everyone, no matter the cost to herself, and she’s always been that way. Even the thought of withholding her assistance makes her feel sick. Worse, it makes her feel like she’s a bad person, selfish and unkind.

She takes up running purely to avoid gaining weight, but as she trains with her cute but heartbroken coach Andrew she becomes more able to do things she’d never thought she could, both physically and emotionally.

The day before she runs her first marathon, though, her best friend’s demands result in the biggest challenge yet to her developing assertiveness and Megan must decide: cave in as she always has before or stick to her new-found ‘happy pace’ in running and life.”

Firstly I’d like to thank Heather Wardell for sending me this eBook to read and review.

I loved the sound of the synopsis and couldn’t wait to get started because I really enjoyed Heather’s other books that I have previously read – Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo and Blank Slate Kate.

This book was no different, I quickly became absorbed in the story and it’s characters.  I found I could relate to Megan really well as, like me, she found it hard to say no to people and constantly tried to make everyone happy (except herself!).  The whole running idea seemed to be a real learning curve for her as she began to change her way of life to suit herself instead of everyone else.  I found this really inspiring as it made me think of changes I could make in my own life.

I don’t often have a serious dislike to characters but Amanda and James really got that reaction out of me, I know they were probably supposed to make the reader feel like that and they were vital to the story but I found myself complaining at my Kindle every time one of them opened their mouth!

Jeanine, Tosca and Andrew had the opposite effect on me, I really liked them and enjoyed watching them change throughout the book.  I liked how Andrew came across as being very strong but once you dug beneath the surface he had a few hidden weaknesses.  Also his relationship with Megan was fun to read, I enjoyed following them as they got to know each other better and essentially helped each other out with some difficult choices.

The running side of the story was my favourite part – it just made me want to run, I actually got on our treadmill for the first time in ages while reading this and hopefully I will be able to continue now I’ve finished the book!  I really loved reading about the marathon itself, it’s not something I would ever do so this made me feel like I had some idea of what it would be like.

This is a fun, fast paced, feel-good story and on top of all that it has inspired me to get fit, so it gets a big thumbs up from me!

Finding My Happy Pace can be purchased from Smashwords or Amazon UK and US.

To find out more about Heather Wardell visit her website here.

Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo – Heather Wardell

“When Candice’s in-laws were killed eight months ago buying a huge faux polar bear rug for her Christmas present, she lost more than just two of her favorite people: she lost her husband Ian as well. After only two years of marriage, their guilt and pain have left them living together but apart, unable to really talk for fear of what they’ll say to each other.

Ian leaves for a month-long contract overseas, and Candice plans to use the time apart to decide whether her marriage can be saved. When her ex walks back into her life as the new client at work, ten years more attractive yet saddened by his own recent loss, she’s left wondering what she really wants from life and love.”

Having previously read and loved Blank Slate Kate by Heather Wardell I decided to get this eBook which was available as a free download from iBooks on my iPhone.

What an enjoyable story this was, it was easy to read and very difficult to put down.  Aside from the romance in this story there were also the more serious issues of potential illness and loss, something that I felt was covered in a tactful and honest way.

I really felt for Candice, she had a lot going on in her life and, as many people do, she didn’t always deal with things in the best way.  This just made her character more real and easier to relate to.

There were quite a few funny moments in this story, I particularly enjoyed reading about Candice’s job interview, her trips to the gym and a certain piercing expedition with her friend Tasha really had me laughing out loud.

The love triangle is complex and intriguing, as I was reading I repeatedly changed my opinion as to who Candice should choose and this made it very difficult to put the book down, I was too keen to find out who she would end up with!

This was a story that brought out a mixture of feelings as I was reading it – sadness, confusion, laughter and happiness.  It is certainly another fab read from Heather Wardell that I would highly recommend.