Life Happens on the Stairs by Amy J. Markstahler
This award-winning, debut novel, Life Happens on the Stairs by Amy J Markstahler is a wonderfully fresh and realistic look at life and love and the contrasts between the "haves" and the "have nots"; the "elite" and the rest of us ordinary folk. Markstahler has definitely touched a spot in her readers hearts with this beautiful and touching portrayal of young love.
Elsie Richardson, a seventeen-year-old budding artist should be preparing for college, but when a brain tumour strikes down her father and he is incapacitated in hospital, Elsie realises she needs to make some sacrifices, for the sake of her hard-working mother, who is struggling to make ends meet, with no income from Elsie's father. Elsie agrees to take on some of her mother's house-cleaning jobs to give her the time to spend with her husband, before the seemingly inevitable happens. It is whilst cleaning a Southern Society's grand lady's house, that Elsie first meets the handsome, young wealthy grandson, Tyler Vaughn. The attraction between the two is instantaneous, but being aware of her mother's admonition not to do anything that could affect her cleaning job, Elsie is forced to keep her attraction and growing love for Tyler, from her mother. The idea of Tyler ever dating anyone from "the other side of the tracks" is absolutely abhorrent to Tyler's domineering, arrogant and incredibly rude Grandmother, so Tyler also must keep the relationship quiet, on his side, also.
I loved the simple, sweet style of the prose Markstahler writes in. It makes the story very readable and her detailed descriptions of the surroundings gives the reader a wonderful insight into the grandeur of an old, southern, plantation mansion. The interaction and sizzling electricity between Elsie and Tyler is definitely the highlight of the story for me. For readers who love good old-fashioned values, true romance, yet without glossing over our character's flaws and mistakes, then Life Happens on the Stairs will be a rewarding and satisfying read for you.
I enjoyed this story immensely and again, I am pleased and excited to find another, superb, indie author arriving on the literary scene. I expect bigger and even better things from Markstahler in the future. She has definitely hit the mark on this coming-of-age romance. It's a superb debut novel, in my opinion and well worthy of the five stars I'm giving it.
In Another Life by Angela Gascoigne
Holly Dineen's perfect life fell apart when her husband was killed in a car accident. It has taken her a long time to pull herself, with the help of her best friend Trudi and medication, out of her depression. Things are finally looking up for Holly and her new relationship with the gorgeous Polish immigrant Marek seems to be on track, when her mind and her life are thrown into turmoil again. When she finds out things from her husband's past that she struggles to deal with, she again begins a rapid spiral out of control and back into the depths of depression and mental illness.
In Another Life, by Angela Gascoigne is another one of this author's sweet, quirky and yet deeply moving, at times, glimpse into the lives and loves of very ordinary people, with very ordinary problems - people just like us; her readers. I have been an enormous fan of Gascoigne's writing ever since I read her first book several years ago. Her style and her offbeat and sometimes slightly dark sense of humour, perhaps reflects my own jaundiced, but ever hopeful view of the world. As a writer, she gets the human condition and more importantly identifies the flaws and character quirks that make for excellent storytelling. There is something simply relaxing and soothing about Gascoigne's books. I always feel deeply the peace and the angst of the characters she invents.
In Another Life is not pretentious, literary, or particularly deep, but what it is, is using storytelling to highlight a real problem in many people's lives - that of depression and mental illness. When I finish a Gascoigne book, I always feel a sense of completeness in the story and its characters. To me, there is probably no higher praise for an author. This book is a wonderful read and one I can highly recommend.
Ayesha: To Take Control (Part 3) by Valentine Renehan
Ayesha To Take Control is part three of a trilogy focusing on the world of high fashion and two of its participants in particular, Ayesha and her husband Ger. I've read all three books, so when it came to the final book of the series there were certain things I was looking for. Did the story wrap itself up in a suitable and appropriate ending? Ayesha Three delivered. Was there a constant improvement in the writing between all three books? I have been impressed right from the beginning with the writing of Valentine Renehan and Ayesha Three was yet another step up for thus author. Was it possible to read Ayesha Three without having read the first two books - was it a standalone novel? Again, Ayesha Three delivered. Renehan went to significant trouble to notify the reader of why certain things had happened the way they did and how they related to the past.
In Ayesha: To Take Control, the same evil characters from the first two books are still lurking in the background, especially Brett Sanderson, the man who supposedly died in a prison cell, but in reality is still out to destroy Ayesha and her empire, for ruining his life and his evil plans. Brett is now joined in his quest to destroy Ayesha by a son he doesn't even know he has, who is now the husband of Ayesha and Ger's daughter and along with her now controls the clothing Empire.
The story is fast-paced, full of action and the usual, expected twists and turns from Renehan. I have thoroughly enjoyed all three books in the Ayesha series and would highly recommend this final book, along with the whole series, to anyone who loves a good, romantic, action/adventure story. There is plenty in this series to keep you happy and occupied. Valentine Renehan has matured as a writer over the trilogy and I, for one, cannot wait to see what she has up her writing sleeve next. An excellent series and kudos to Renehan.
drum roll please!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME