Book Review – All That Compels The Heart by Erin Bowlen

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Hello loves and Happy Friday! Today, I’ll be sharing my review for ALL THAT COMPELS THE HEART by Erin Bowlen. This book is so full of HEART and I really hope you get to read it and love it as much as I do. I also have a really fun interview with Erin and a few of my favorite quotes from the book so don’t forget to stay until the end.

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aboutbook

Title: All That Compels the Heart
Author: Erin Bowlen
Published:  February 13th 2018
Genre: New Adult/Romance
Pages: Kindle Edition, 785
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synopsis

All That Compels the Heart is the story of Aoife O’Reilly’s unintentional journey towards self-discovery.

Aoife O’Reilly seemingly had the perfect life: a good job, successful boyfriend, and the two best friends a woman could ever ask for.  However, when tragedy strikes, she begins to feel like her life is unraveling.  After a visit to the monastic site of Glendalough brings her to the nearby charming village of Ballyclara, Aoife makes the bold decision to leave her friends and family in Dublin, and moves to the Irish countryside.

Purchasing the long-abandoned Aldridge Manor, she throws herself into the task of renovating the house with the help of local pub owner and contractor, Michal Flanagan.  While Aoife begins to settle in well with the other villagers, she finds herself perpetually at odds with Michael.  Aoife strives to find some common ground with him, but the more effort she puts into building a life in Ballyclara, the more she feels herself drifting apart from her friends and family back in Dublin.

Just as Aoife makes a choice between her life in Dublin and life in Ballyclara, a career opportunity in New York presents itself and she is left with the question: will she choose to stay in Ireland?  Or should she take the job in New York and leave everything behind?

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mythoughts

Beautifully Written, Engrossing, Heartfelt, and Profoundly Moving

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All that Compels the Heart by Erin Bowlen is a heartfelt and profoundly moving novel about family, friendship, love, taking chances and chasing your dreams. It’s beautifully written, engrossing, and emotional. It was such a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Aoife.

This story is simply lovely! Even though it is quite lengthy with some slow moving parts and a few moments that I thought seemed a bit drawn-out, the overall storyline without a doubt touched my heart. Bowlen’s writing is gorgeous, elegant and compelling. I have never read anything by her before so I was impressed when I found myself wonderfully immersed into the story that I could easily experience what the characters feel. I also think Bowlen’s descriptions are vivid, dreamy, and absolutely breathtaking, I really had fun exploring all the beautiful places in Ireland that I personally cannot wait to visit someday.

The pacing is good and the plot is well-developed. Bowlen wonderfully blends interesting family drama, hilarious and sad moments, important life lessons, and realistic relationship. While the story isn’t romance heavy, there are still many swoony moments sprinkled here and there that made me smile. I loved the chemistry between Aoife and Michael and I totally rooted for them. The story is also not emotionally intense like I thought, but it still managed to make tear up a few times. And that ending… ouch! It made my heart ache so much leaving me absolutely desperate to find out what would happen next.

The characters are not always likable. Sometimes, they’re frustrating and annoying. Some of them even had my eyes rolling. But, it’s their flaws that make them incredibly relatable individuals who have interesting personalities and unique quirks. I adored Aoife with all my heart. I liked that she’s down-to-earth, caring, adorable, sweet, and has a big heart. She does make mistakes, but Aoife is such a lovable heroine that I felt so protective of her. Michael has such an intense and strong personality, yet I found myself very drawn to him. Yes, he’s quite stubborn, blunt, and acts kind of a jerk at times…But, he also has an amazingly charming and tender side. He’s kind, genuine, and loving. Michael is definitely the type of character that will slowly make you fall for him as you get to know him and once you do all bets are off!

The secondary characters like Paddy, Bex, Millie, Brendan, Connor, and the Flanagans are utterly charming and I really liked them. I thought they’re fascinating characters and some even made me laugh. The rest or those that I didn’t quite like … well they’re great characters too and definitely added intrigue to the story.

This book is a nice cozy read with the perfect combination of drama, adventure, humor, romance, and so much heart. Bowlen paints a beautifully relatable narrative of Aoife’s life experiences, struggles, and triumphs weaving together an intricate and believable story that will grip readers until the last page. The story explores elements of tragedy, grief, friendship, family, love, and self-discovery. It’s ultimately about finding yourself, appreciating life, and doing what truly makes your heart happy.

I had so much fun going on this lovely journey with Aoife. All that Compels the Heart is a gorgeous story with lovable characters, realistic life situations, and meaningful themes and lessons. Erin Bowlen is such a talented author with a very promising career and I absolutely recommend you add this book on your TBR now!

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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favoritequotes

You need to live a little, do something that will make you happy.

Promise me you will make the best of this world, because to my knowledge, you only get one try at it.

All that stuff in the books and the songs and the films are wrong. There’s no music playing or fireworks going off when you find the right one. There’s just his feeling deep down in your gut.

There was just this feeling in my gut that if I didn’t spend the rest of my life with her, that my life would be a whole lot sadder for it. I just knew that I needed her in my life and that I would do anything to make it happen.

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authorinterview

Describe this book in 3 words – Engaging. Provocative.  Inquisitive.

Have you always loved writing? – Yes.  I’ve tried writing in many different forms (song-writing, poetry, academic writing) and I think I was drawn to all of them because of my curiosity in all things, and in fiction I found a platform within which all these forms function.  I’ve had varied success with all of these forms of writing over the years (no one should ever read the angsty poetry of my teenage years, or the teeny-bopper songs of my pre-teen years), but I think I’ve finally found where I’m supposed to be with writing fiction.

What is you favorite part about being an author/writer? – The community.  It’s a scary feeling when you start declaring yourself as a writer to the world, and what helped me get over that fear was the writing community I found through NaNoWriMo and, recently, through the #WritingCommunity on Twitter.  It’s comforting to know that all writers have gone (or are going) through what I’m feeling, and I’ve found everyone to be really encouraging and supportive of one another.

Which authors have inspired your writing? –  Diana Gabaldon – I love how much care and detail she puts into making her characters realistic.  She isn’t afraid to make her characters have flaws, have them make decisions that her readers might not like, or generally put her characters through hell sometimes and then show how that affects their personalities and behaviour.  Before reading “Outlander,” I had not come across characters that felt so real to me when I was reading them, and I haven’t found very many authors since who can make me feel as invested in their characters as Diana can.

J.R.R Tolkien – I have learned so much about world-building from Tolkien’s work.  I know that his level of detail and description isn’t for everyone, but I still find myself going back to “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings” just to read some of the descriptions he’s used and finding ways to engage all of my readers’ senses to make them feel as if the story is happening all around them.

Maeve Binchy – I’ve always felt a connection to Maeve’s novels because, growing up in an Irish-Canadian family, I’ve always felt a connection to my heritage and reading Irish authors was the closest I could come to finding stories that related to the kind of family dynamic I grew up in.  Her novels were perfect for the pre-teen version of myself trying to navigate big topics, but still retaining that sense that everything was going to be alright in the end.

If there was a zombie apocalypse and you could only take 3 books with you, which ones will you choose? -I immediately thought of two ways to answer this question, based on two strategies of how to survive a zombie apocalypse.  The first is based on the fact that I’m terrible at running, so I wouldn’t make it very far by running away from zombies, and having some hefty books to use to throw at the zombies to keep them away from me might come in handy.  So I’d go for books like War & Peace (although I quite liked that, so I would be sad to lose it), Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (which sounds incredibly boring, but it’s actually quite useful), and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks would also be pretty handy to have.

Now, if I was in a safe place where I wouldn’t have to run away from the zombies and I was looking for books that I could read over and over without ever getting tired of them, I would choose books like “The Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling, “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” by Diana Gabaldon, and “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why? – Being able to manipulate time would be a useful superpower.  I love history, so just from a personal interest perspective, being able to go back in time and visit certain time periods would be extremely fun.  It would also come in handy when writing historical fiction, as it would make research much easier if I could just hop back in time and observe everything around me.

What is your favorite scene to write? Well, I can’t say what my favourite scene to write in “All That Compels the Heart” is without giving away spoilers, but I will say that, in general, I like writing emotional scenes.  It doesn’t matter if they are happy, sad or whatever; anything that makes my characters deal with some big emotions and, hopefully, make the reader feel something, are always fun to write.  I also love world-building, so any scenes where I get to be detailed and descriptive are interesting to me.

If you could have any other job/profession other than being a writer, what would it be? – Before I started writing fiction, I had plans to become a professor of Classics, and I feel like I’m in a place now where I would be happy going back to that.  I also really love archaeology, so working within that field is also something I would be interested in pursuing.

Any advice for aspiring writers? – Stop over-thinking it and start writing it!  If you are thinking of writing a story but you aren’t sure if you are good enough, just go for it.  You won’t know if you are any good at it until you give it a try.  And you might not produce something you’re happy with the first time; that’s ok.  Keep working at it and eventually you’ll produce something you believe in.

THANK YOU SO MUCH ERIN BOWLEN for taking the time to do this interview. 

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abouttheauthor

erinbowlen

Erin was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.  Growing up, she was influenced by her family’s artistic roots in the art of storytelling, which fostered a deep love for literature at a young age.

Erin began her writing career during her postgraduate studies at the University of New Brunswick.  Finding herself at a crossroads with her academic writing, a friend suggested that she try writing fiction.  Afraid she might be too much of a storyteller to be completely academic (and afraid she might be too academic to be a storyteller), she decided to participate in a 30-day writing competition.  At the end of the month she was surprised that she not only met her word count goal, but she had also developed several novel ideas.

After a few years of developing her craft, she finally took the next step and published her first novel: All That Compels the Heart.

Erin currently lives in New Brunswick.

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Thanks for stopping by lovelies. I hope you enjoyed reading this review and add All That Compels The Heart on your TBR.

Until next time, take care, have a fun weekend, and read more books!

sincerelykjologo

Blog Tour – Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn

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“A fantastically fun, HOT love story.” – Kendall Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

Parental Guidance, an all-new, sexy and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Avery Flynn, is available now!

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blurb

All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I’m in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom—yes, my mom—has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can’t get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who’d rather be anywhere other than on a date with me.

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. But if we band together, we can get the whole thing over with and go on with our lives. It’s perfect! No feelings. No future. No fuc— *ahem* fun. No naked fun.

What could go wrong? Nothing—as long as I remember the rules. Don’t notice the way she looks in a dress. Don’t react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don’t think about the fact that she’s never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn’t self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates—that’s it—and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan.

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Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VGNZ41

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“So why are you on Bramble?”

She took another small bite from her roll before answering. “My best friend is blackmailing me, and my dad wants a SAG card.”

That was definitely not the answer he’d been expecting. “And I thought my reasoning was twisted.”

“I’m sure it all makes sense in Gemma’s head,” Zara said. “She thinks I work too much and need to loosen up. She’ll let me be her plus-one to go meet a collector if I do the Bramble five dates thing. And my dad? Well, let’s just say he’s never met an unlikely plan he didn’t think he could pull off.”

All the possibilities this created sped around inside his head until one broke free like a perfect fast break late in the third period when the game was on the line. All he had to do was put the biscuit in the net.

“So neither of us really wants to be here,” he said. “We’re each other’s solution to getting back to our regular lives as soon as possible.”

It was fucking perfect. Petrov’s job with the team would be safe for another season—well, as safe as he could be, considering he didn’t have a no-trade deal in his contract.

Zara, though, didn’t seem to be seeing the genius of it, going by the suspicious look she gave him as she took another bite of her roll. Instead of giving him a straight-up no, though, she started eating. The words—okay, begging pleas—were bubbling up inside him but for once, he kept it in lockdown. He wasn’t about to rush this play, no matter how it had every nerve in his body jinglejangling.

Finally, she used her napkin to wipe the corners of her mouth, straightened her spine, and looked him dead in the eye. “We’d have to have ground rules.”

“Sure. Whatever you want.” Ice Knights season tickets? He’d make that happen. A photo op with her dad’s favorite player? Done. Whatever it took, he’d do it.

“This isn’t a real or fake relationship, it’s a temporary alliance,” she said without an ounce of humor in her tone. “I’m not pretending to be your girlfriend or the random chick you’re banging this week.”

“Agreed.” All of that sounded like it would cause more problems than it would solve anyway. “I’ve got a condition. Dressing up is not required. I’m not putting on a suit.”

The best thing about the off-season was not having to strangle himself with a tie multiple times a week just for a bus ride to the rink or a plane trip to another city. Coach Peppers was old-fashioned about doing things the original way.

“Fine.” Zara held up three fingers. “The third stipulation is that I’m not putting on a good attitude. If it’s been a crappy day, I don’t have to pretend to be a manic pixie dream girl.”

He snorted. “No one who’s met you would believe that. You’re a little salty.” That was putting it mildly based on her attitude when she showed up for their date.

“I have my reasons.” She added another finger, so she was holding up four. “Oh, and no making love. Sex?” She paused and looked him over quickly. “Maybe. Emotional, heartfelt, staring-each-other-in-the-eyes making love? Not gonna happen. No offense, but you’re not my type.”

What the hell? Not her type? He was a professional athlete making millions. He’d been led to believe he was everyone’s type.

“Not a problem, since I don’t think we could see eye to eye while having sex unless you magically grew a foot,” he said.

“You’re not into being creative?” Zara rolled her eyes. “I guess that’s expected for someone who has probably had women throwing themselves at him for years. You haven’t ever had to work for it.”

Caleb had no idea what to say to that. He’d been punched square in the face by the most feared goons in hockey and it hadn’t knocked him as senseless as this little five-foot-nothing of a snarky woman had done with a few choice words.

“I have one more rule,” she said, reaching for another roll. “Five dates and we’re done. Period. Do we have a deal?”

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abouttheauthor

AveryFlynnUSA Today bestselling romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staff knew her by name.

Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

 

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Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to add this book on your TBR!

sincerelykjologo