REVIEW ~ AN EXALTATION OF LARKS by SUANNE LAQUEUR

Title: An Exaltation of Larks

Author: Suanne Laqueur

Genre: Saga

Release Date: 22nd November, 2016

Publisher: Cathedral Rock Press

Cover designer: Write Dream Repeat

 

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SYNOPSIS

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

 

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Five +++ Stars 

Review by Sharon Thérèse

I was dying to put pen to paper even before I’d finished reading this book and that just goes to show you how much I loved it. So many thoughts were spinning in my mind, so many feelings out of control, I can’t begin to tell you the effect it had on me or how the Lark’s story cries out to be read. Despite the length and timespan, every page turned and every word read was an ‘exaltation’.  It doesn’t make for heavy reading, either; on the contrary. . . it is a brilliant piece of literature. The author’s polished prose is as such that I had to stop reading many passages, sit back and reflect on them before carrying on. And although her storyline is beyond original, what captured my attention was the detailed account of her characters’ qualities, fears and achievements.

An Exaltation of Larks hit me hard from the word go and kept me on tenterhooks throughout. I felt a strong family oneness about them as they stick together through thick and thin. Life’s obstacles strengthen them, but also show their weaknesses. They live passionately and love completely in a tale of sufferance and exuberance. Unravelling over the course of several generations, I quickly became emotionally invested in the relationship between three beautiful people.

“Second chances are given or made.”

Alejandro’s ability to cope with the aftermath of a childhood experience is when he is accepted with open arms into the safe haven of a loving family. But deep down, his grief keeps rearing up its ugly head. He needs help and has it, but at times in all his desperation, it’s not enough. Javier’s story is no less tragic and just as heart-breaking. The hand of fate plays an unfair game of betrayal. Wrongfully judged at an age when boys aren’t yet men, the price he pays is shockingly harsh. Pushed to breaking point, if he’s going to survive, he’ll have to find ways to build up his inner-strength. And this folk, is just the beginning!

“Being with you feels like home.” 

“I shouldn’t have to be your home.” 

I truly believe destiny’s road is marked out for each and every one of us. In an unexaggerated tone, this is exactly what happens when these two men’s lives uncannily coincide. Their traits are disturbingly similar on some levels; on others, divergent. Without taking into consideration their backgrounds which will influence them later on in life, a friendship blossoms into something special. It was what they needed, treasured and respected. Warming my heart, they made me smile, laugh out loud, cry and brought out such raw emotions in me that I honestly say I was mentally visualising their ups and downs. I didn’t think it were ever possible for an author to paint a picture of their protagonists’ personalities so vividly, but Ms Laqueur did it to perfection!

“Many people like being alone, but nobody likes being lonely. I became lonely. . .”

Valerie! Goodness me, apart from leaving me totally speechless; in contrast, her unforgettable character had me praising her in this read’s entirety. She is the backbone of this story, holds tightly on the family reins and keeps the banter flowing in such a natural manner that I couldn’t help but adore her. Did I agree with her. . . hmm, her honesty is to be tested but all said and done, the best of us make mistakes, and I think hers was more than justified as her only wish was to maintain the status quo. Her open-mindedness and selfless protectiveness is refreshing. The love she has for her kinsfolk, undeniably strong. In fact, if anyone’s going to be able to calm troubled waters regardless of being between a rock and a hard place, it is she.

“You don’t have to be strong anymore.”

How Alex, Jav and Val’s story panned out surprised me. I have to confess that I wanted it to take a path which was not to be. However, after much contemplation, the place they found on a soul-stirring level was to my mind of thinking, indisputably correct when there was so much at stake. The secondary character development is fan-freakin’-tastic! I really connected to Valerie’s quirky sister, Trelawney and the two teenagers, Deane and Ari. . . lovely guys whose growing up struggles were really well-described. Here, Valerie and Alex and Jav’s empathy was crucial. Although house rules weren’t negotiable, their handling of certain issues were always carefully dealt with.

“These are the rules, kid. And they suck sometimes but they keep you safe and they keep the world in order.”   

What sold me too was the tense dialogue in angst-ridden scenes that were actually, outnumbered by touching ones. Also, passages and sentences in italic caused a lump in my throat and had me grabbing for whatever happened to be at hand to dry my eyes. I have to mention to those of you who speak Spanish to try and ignore the few translation errors I came across. The verb conjugations of ‘ser / estar — ‘to be’, is one example. Nevertheless, these slip-ups shouldn’t hinder your reading enjoyment. It didn’t mine.

Well, what can I say to the author that I haven’t said already? Your words are splendiferous, your book, magnificent. One that shall never be forgotten, one to be savoured again and again and meriting at the very least, five stars. Bravo Ms Laqueur!

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Purchase Links:

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

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AUTHOR’S BIO

suanneSuanne Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. Her debut novel, The Man I Love, won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and a gold medal for Best Debut Author from Feathered Quill Book Awards.

With her Fish Tales series, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to the experience of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

Suanne’s Stalk Links:

Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Amazon Author Page | Goodreads Author Page

 

An Exaltation of Larks: Teasers

 

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RELEASE DAY ~ THE HUNT by Monica James

Title: The Hunt

Author: Monica James

Series: A Hard Love Romance #3

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Subgenre: Erotica

Release Date: 30th November, 2017

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Synopsis:

My name is Hunter O’Shea and I have a confession to make…I’ve met a girl who consumes me. I know that makes me sound completely whipped, but Mary “Lamb” Mitts has the power to bring me to my knees…it’s just too bad she hates my guts. But that’s okay, because I hate hers, too. The fiery redhead stirs something in me that I can’t explain.

This temporary insanity could be due to the fact my best friend, who used to be a bigger player than me, is getting married. That must be it. I’m caught up in an Oprah moment.

The only solution is to get back in the game and forget she exists. That theory is great—too bad I don’t want anyone else.

I…just…want…her.

I’m so screwed.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

Amazon Paperback

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

EXCERPT:

Something is happening and I have no idea what. Mary’s eyes drop to my lips before she uneasily licks hers. Her flushed cheeks, dilated pupils, and heavy breathing all point to one thing—but that’s not possible. This woman hates me, all delicious, lithe five-foot-four of her wants me dead.

So why is she not slapping my cheeks and calling me a dirty manwhore when I inch closer to her lips? And why am I not slamming on the brakes because I don’t kiss—ever, but that rule seems to be obsolete when the supplest pair of lips are a hairs breadth away?

I’m rolling in her perfume. Slathering it all over my body and inhaling it like a new drug. She is all goddess, and if I don’t touch her, I’m going to explode.

Placing my palm to her cheek, we both moan at the contact, and when she parts those lips, I’m as good as gone. “Hunter, wh-what are you doing?”

My name has never sounded sweeter. “Shortcake, I don’t know…you tell me.” The ball is in her court. I’m liquefying and my brain turned to mush about fifteen minutes ago, so I’m in no state to be the one calling the shots.

“I…I…” she fumbles, never breaking eye contact.

“You what?” I ask, tugging at the lobe of her ear, before tracing my pointer down her throat. Her pulse is hammering, a sure sign she’s about to either surrender, or flee.

“I…oh god,” she whimpers, biting her lip when I work my finger back up and paint over her jawline in a slow sweep.

“You have three seconds…three seconds to stop me before I part those lips with my tongue, and I won’t be gentle about it.”

Meet Monica

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.

Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Follow Monica

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Website Goodreads | Amazon

Join Monica’s Reader Group

Catch up on the series today!

DIRTY DIX ~ Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

WICKED DIX ~ Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA