Make him Howl – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, after my first NetGalley request last week we’re back to Zoe’s Shift series. At this point in time when I’m writing this (in very early April!) this is the last book in the series available.

After reading Bearly Married, Trust the Wolf and Truth or Bear I was used to a certain level of excitement, drama and romance all blending together to form a captivating story. Even though Zoe’s quality of writing was still up there with the other books, I felt it was written a bit differently.

Since we’re following on from the end of Truth or Bear our lovers are separated thanks to Parker being kidnapped. Even though we’re a month on from where we left off, Gabriel hasn’t managed to find any promising leads to find Parker. Although this separation was great for building up Gabriel’s feelings for Parker. It meant that the rest of the story had to adapt to suit it.

Zoe has even given us a playlist to listen to while reading Make him Howl

Throughout most of this book I felt like it was a bit flat emotionally compared to the rest of the series. There were certainly peaks of drama and excitement. But not to the same levels as the other books.

After finishing that story, I feel like it could have been done better as a novella. That way it cuts out the flatter sections or could have at least condensed it. Leaving us with all the good filled bits!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about Zoe, and don’t forget to check out the reviews for the other books in the series.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She's also on Pintrest so you can check her out there or through her socials below.

Group

Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarelli

Welcome back everyone, today’s review takes us into the wilds of Tuscany and its history, both recent and long gone.

I’m going to kick off this review with some things I didn’t like. The way Kate has written her character’s thoughts and conversations made me feel like I was reading a regency or Victorian romance. The formal way the character’s spoke to each other is something that you just wouldn’t come across in modern times.

For a good while there I thought it was set historically (obviously having forgotten what the cover looked like) until Antonia set setting up a laptop. That really threw me! And I had moments like this happen throughout most of the book.

The other thing that really bugged me was how easily Lorenzo switched from being a man whore to be a one-woman man who is dumping his fiancé. Like that was just so sudden it didn’t feel natural. And the same kind of thing happened with Antonia. Can someone REALLY fall in love so deeply they will change who they are within a few days?

I know romances aren’t meant to be realistic, but this was just over the top.

On the other hand, Kate’s ability to describe a location is amazing. I feel like I knew a fair bit about Tuscan history (thank you Assassins Creed!) yet I didn’t know that there were literal castles there.

The ravages of time and WWII haven’t been left out either. There was a great nod to those poor souls who lost their lives because of that war which I thought was brilliant. The moments when characters interact with the memorial to those was probably the most emotionally realistic the whole book got.

If Kate were to write a historical romance I feel like she’d nail it with her ability to emotionally draw you into a place. And she can already write in the same way people of the past spoke. But for a modern romance?

It’s not quite hitting it for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s latest (yes I’m finally getting to it!) novel Make Him Howl. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Zarrelli books or on Twitter @katmezzacappa.

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Bearly Married – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my latest author request. I read this one directly after Truth or Bear because I just needed more. More shifter stories, more of this world. And of course, knowing who the main characters are I was interested to see how they’d start.

So, I signed up to Zoe’s newsletter list so I could grab a free copy AND know when new books are coming out, in case she doesn’t want me reviewing them anymore… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen coz I really like this series!


Writing Style

Going into this one I thought it was a short story, not a novella. So, I was expecting the pace to be quicker than it was. I realised pretty quickly when the story wasn’t moving along quick enough and there was a layer of romantic build up, but also tension.

So, don’t be fooled like I was!

Silly me thought I would finish it on my way to work then smash out the 2 other reviews I needed to write and this one on my way home, and the following days commute. Needless to say, that was taken up by this one coz the story was gripping!

The sweetness of Christine really draws you in. Especially when it’s contrasted so nicely with Alexandre’s stern, serious and desperate disposition. The way Zoe had their personalities building and developing together was so sweet. And very reminiscent of a shorter story. So I’m glad to kept this one to a novella rather than a novel.


Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused to begin with since I thought Alexandre and Christine’s marriage was arranged, as in their parents arranged it for them. Not arranged as in Alexandre sought heiresses and interviewed them until he found one, he was interested in. So, I was a little thrown by that.

I was also thrown a little bit by how much control/input Christine had to the organisation of the marriage. But the fact that she still had some spunk to her was awesome.

I’m not going to say anything more on this now, because otherwise I’ll ruin the book for you!


Final Thoughts

If you’re reading this one as a prequel (like you’re kinda meant to) it gives you a hint of what’s to come with the series. But on a much tamer level.

Whereas if you’ve read the series (or what’s out so far) like I have. You’ll probably find yourself wondering if a certain evil person will pop up in this book.

If that’s you. Give up. It’s not happening.

I was hoping it would coz I wanted to understand them better. But it proved futile so please don’t get your hopes up.

I also found that this story followed a romance kind of story plot, rather than a paranormal one. I don’t know if I can quite explain it. But all the paranormal books I read tend to have a slightly different feel to the straight romances I read. And this felt closer to a straight romance to me.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire.

One? – Jennifer Cahill

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading about my first book box last week. This week I’m back to an author requested review, and I never know what I’m going to get with these ones!

Writing Style

I really wasn’t a fan of the way Jennifer wrote this one. So much so, I wrote to her letting her know the issues I was having with her writing style. My main problem was that it was too stilted and formal for how people really talk.

Not to mention, having the characters thoughts written out word for word rather than summarised or hinted at kept interrupting the flow of the story. But what made the flow worse for me was that we’d change character perspectives with no break to signify there’s a change.

Most books that I read that change perspective will have say a line going between the paragraphs, or one of those cute little images (say, a leaf). Or at the very least, a much bigger gap between the paragraphs. This didn’t have that, so it was just suddenly, I was following someone else.

This one is probably very minor if you’re British. But being an Aussie I don’t know the postcode system over there and Jennifer was using the postcodes as a way to signify where we were landmark wise in the story. I was left going “what is SW4? What is EC1?” because to me they mean nothing. It feels like me saying to you “o you should totally check out the Ferris Wheel at 3008!”

Seriously, how many of you know what I’m talking about right there?

Minor problem if you’re British, bit of a waste of space if it’s not explained; which it’s not but Jennifer has said she’s open to feedback and will be writing the sequel slower so it’s less stream of thought and more structured so it’s not difficult to read which is awesome! Being her first book, I think she’s done a pretty good job if my only problems are things an editor can fix!

My Thoughts

I already mentioned that all my problems with this book stem from a lack of editing. Other than that, I had some fun reading a very Sex in the City style book set in the early 2000s rather than the 90s. Given I was born in the 90s, this made it much more relatable to me.

Something else I really liked was the way Jennifer openly discussed the pressures women feel to get married, have kids but still hold a highly successful full-time career. We might be getting to really seeing that part (possibly?) but she’s hinted at it and we see and hear it in all of Penelope’s thoughts.

I especially connected with this because I personally have started to feel the pressure because I don’t want kids, but I do want my career. And I hate that people do that. Getting married, having kids and having a career are all very personal choices that every individual should be able to make without feeling judged. So, I love that this theme is starting to come through, whether it was intentional or not I’m not sure.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the third instalment of The Time for Alexander series, Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire.

Truth or Bear – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed last week’s dystopian review because we have another change of pace this week! This week I’ve gone back to Zoe’s Shifter series, this time with her latest release. So, if you like the sounds of it please go and support her by grabbing a copy.

Writing Style

This book felt more action packed than Trust the Wolf, and in a way it was. We started off with an action scene rather than a potentially romantic interlude scene.

Thinking back (I’m writing this review a week after reading the book, and after also reading Bearly Married, the prequel to the series) it feels like Zoe started off with what was safe and easy to write about. And with each book has explored something new.

Whether it be a new angle for love. A new level of intimacy and the build up of desire. And in this book, it feels like she’s exploring her ability to write about the action scenes.

There’s more detail in them, more focus on them and they feel like they belong more. From my knowledge, this series is Zoe’s first published books (sorry Zoe if I got that wrong!) so I’d say it’s normal to see that progression.

I just find it interesting coz I can’t say I’ve noticed it in other authors. It doesn’t mean it’s not there. I just haven’t noticed it like I have with Zoe’s writing.

Initial Thoughts

Initially I was a bit disappointed. But that probably has more to do with me not reading the blurb before asking for this book after finishing Trust the Wolf.

If I had have read the blurb, I wouldn’t have set myself up for disappointment, so that’s totally on me. Not Zoe.

Why was I disappointed?

Because this book doesn’t continue to follow Emilia and Jason. Instead it, follow’s Emilia’s cousin Claire and her love interest Nik from about 2 months into their relationship. And I wanted to know how Emilia went in her new job and how she was going adjusting to the Shifter world.

But I didn’t get my wish. Instead, I got two new characters that I wasn’t sure I’d like.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I actually ended up enjoying Claire and Nik’s story, which I really wasn’t sure I would.

It did get off to a rocky start, but over time I ended up enjoying their banter and their acceptance of their positions. I think it’s really mature of them and I’m glad Zoe brought up the issue of falling for someone when you weren’t meant to and struggling to figure out how it could possibly work.

Luckily, Claire’s father is really understanding which is something I can relate to. Reading about someone else facing these challenges reminded me of when I was experiencing the same issues.

The only difference is, I could at least turn to my mum which Claire couldn’t really do.

I’m not sure I love Claire and Nik as much as I love Emilia and Jason. But I don’t know how much of that is to do with the fact that I read their story first, or because their story was actually better. I’ll have to keep thinking on that one.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Brooklyn by Colm Toibin Continue to read further down to find out about the Zoe.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She is also on Pintrest if you're interested.

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A Greek Affair PRICE DROP!

A Greek Affair PRICE DROP!A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton
Buy on AmazonBuy on Amazon.co.ukBuy on Amazon.com.au
Goodreads
four-stars

More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations.
Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it … what could be better? Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

I reviewed A Greek Affair back in January and really loved it. So when I heard that a price drop was coming I had to share it with you. Not only do you now know it’s on sale, well you can also go into the chance to win some goodies. Keep reading to see how you can been in with a chance to win!

Author Bio

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Message from Linn: Do you love a competition?

Hello lovely readers and bloggers!

To celebrate the price drop to 99p I will be running a competition on Twitter for one lucky person to win a goody bag – a limited edition mug and pen, and a Disaronno/chocolate gift box!

No purchase is necessary to join in – just RT one of my lovely blogger’s Tweets for the 99p promo including @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair, to take part.

If you have already read/reviewed A Greek Affair and take a photo of it on your reading device and/or send a link to your review in your Tweet – IF YOUR NAME is the ONE drawn by the third party, I will add two signed paperbacks from my backlist to the prize!

Don’t forget to include @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair so we can include your Tweet in the competition. Thank you so much for dropping by and good luck!

Terms: Competition closes noon GMT 19 April 2019; international; anyone can enter; prize to be provided by the author; prize winner will be announced on Twitter by @LinnBHalton and on Linn’s website (competition page) at noon on 20April 2019 after being selected at random by a third party.

four-stars

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving a bit out into the English countryside this week although we’re sticking to the romance genre. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I have a bit of a thing for historical settings and a countryside castle fits into that. I just had to give it a read to see how a castle was described, used and managed in these modern days.

Writing Style

For some books I find this really hard to describe, and this is one of those books. It almost felt like at times it was character driven, while at others it was driven by the story or the location. I don’t know if there’s a technical description for it, but I found the balance of all those different approaches really relaxing.

This let me just absorb what was on the page and feel like I was there with them as much as possible. I did find myself wishing I could enjoy reading them in the bath, but by the time I realised I wanted that it was too late to run a bath. And unfortunately, I don’t own a portable bath to travel to and from work in (not that I’m sure that’s socially acceptable?) to get my extra level of relaxation that way.

And man, those bluebell descriptions reminded me of the park behind the house I grew up in. But for me it was a field of daisies not bluebells. Not quite as fancy. But you still get the whole running in a field of flowers feeling which is amazing. So those descriptions brought me back to those childhood summer days where I’d read in amongst the flowers and my dad would almost trip over me coz, he couldn’t see me coz the flowers were so tall.

Those were good times so it’s nice to remember them sometimes.

Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused as to what was happening in the first 2-3 chapters because it didn’t label the time to show we were covering certain days across winter with months between them. Once I realised this, I was OK, especially since it was pretty much entirely based in spring/early summer after that.

Since I’d been held on tenterhooks waiting for this book to arrive, I was ready to dive straight in and get immersed in the story. And I found this super easy to do, especially with a glass of wine on hand late on a Saturday afternoon and throughout Saturday night.

This book felt like a really great reading companion for a weekend night, which I really haven’t felt like I’ve had for quite some time.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the whole book I found myself picturing the countryside, the types of stones used, the layout of the castle, all those dogs running around and how picturesque it must be. Living somewhere like this would be a dream for me. Minus the money issues of course.

To read about how the other half live was mesmerising for me. But what I really liked were the moments when Lucie and Arthur were able to recognise their own faults and do something about them. They may have needed help sometimes to see their own faults. But they didn’t run away, gloss over or hide from them in in fear of what others would think of them.

Except a small moment from Lucie. But I can understand that and respect her for making sure Arthur found out the truth from her regardless.

My only fault with this book was the ending. I wanted more than like the 2 pages of them meeting up and making up to know what happens to them. An epilogue would have been perfect to wrap it up nicely. Unless it’s a series? Is it a series?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward on tour thanks to Write Reads. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

   

Mr One Night Stand – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving from historically accurate Viking times all the way into present day London. I decided to give this book a go since Rachael addressed a sensitive topic so well last time that I was interested to see if she’d be doing something similar again.


Writing Style

Overall Rachael has an engaging style that I enjoy reading. The main difference between Unshackled and this one was that this one follows two character not just the one. I’m not sure if this is a new thing for Rachael or not, but there were a couple of times when it felt like we’d start off a section following Marcus. Yet somehow it switches to Jennifer when he’s thinking about her?

There were obvious breaks throughout the book to show when you switched point of view. But those unexpected ones threw me a little and made me go back and reread the start of the section to make sure I hadn’t just read it wrong.

Compared with the last book I read (I actually read No Place Like Home directly before this one) Rachael’s writing style is definitely character driver rather than location driven. There’s hardly any descriptions of the places, other than to set the scene (e.g. a penthouse with a view over London or a cosy, fancy restaurant) Rachael focuses her efforts on describing the characters thoughts, feelings and emotional turmoil.


Initial Thoughts

First jumping into this I thought the focus of the book was going to be on the sex, or erotica, of Marcus and Jennifer’s relationship. But it turned out it wasn’t. Like, yes, the book did start off with some heavy sex scenes. But it felt like the focus was on their emotional rather than their physical needs.

In all honesty, I didn’t have much else to think to begin with because I mostly read this book while half asleep on my way to work. And I kept getting distracted by the people around me because I’ve almost run out of data so can’t stream music to listen to while I read.


Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story. But I felt like there was an opportunity to explore the way our past haunts us more. Rachael touched on it, but it felt like it was only done to give the characters some depth rather than exploring and unpacking something most of us experience in one way or another.

Compared to Unshackled I felt really let down on this front. But then again, if Rachael never wanted to focus on a topic like it felt like she did in Unshackled then it makes sense. I guess it’d be hard to come up with new issues to explore and unpack for every book you write in a meaningful way.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Spring Skies Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennet. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true. 

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Giveaway - Win an e-copy of Mr. One Night Stand by Rachael Stewart (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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Trust the Wolf – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed Monday’s review and the Wrap Up post yesterday. Moving into March I will be winding down on these reviews on Friday’s as I move back into my series reviews.

So, I thought it would be lovely to finish off my string of Friday reviews with one shared to me through the book blogging community.

Writing Style

Zoe's writing style was really engaging and pretty much had me hooked right from the get go. I don't know if I was due for a paranormal romance fix or not. But I certainly finished the book needing more.

I wanted to know what happened between Jason and Emilia. I wanted to know if Emilia's goal was realised. And if it was, how'd it go? How long did it take? What impact did it have?

And I wanted to know the story behind the big secret of the book.

Am I looking forward to reading more of Zoe's books to get even more drawn in? You betcha!


Initial Thoughts

Initially I was a little confused about what was happening because it'd been a while, with a lot of other books read in between, since reading the blurb. I knew it was a shifter story, with a wolf and a bear. But I couldn't remember anything more than that.

So, having a girl at a club get practically attacked by some random guy. And then have another hot random guy save her felt weird.

Then to have the hot guy sniff Emilia when she has no idea what he's talking about when he's asking for her SANA ID feels weird.

For some reason, going into this I thought Emilia knew she was a shifter. So, her not knowing confused me a bit. How was this going to play out if she didn't even know she was a shifter?


Final Thoughts

As I got further into the book I enjoyed it more and more. By the time I finished the book, I knew I'd been long overdue for a shifter style romance novel. I actually don't remember the last time I read a shifter novel which is really sad for me.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Emilia's character was that she never changed who she was. Throughout everything that happened, she stayed true to herself and showed us that it's OK not to know what you want to do with your career yet. That it's OK to know what you want from a relationship.

There are so many dialogues out there saying women should have a career AND a family. But to do that they're basically saying you need to know what your one and only career will be by the time you're like 22. And that's ridiculous.

I'm 28 and I've already had like 4 or 5 career changes for various reasons. I love what I'm doing now and I have a pretty solid idea on how to achieve my career and financial goals. But to expect women to have this figured out by 22 (roughly) is just crazy. You just don't have the life experience to really know for sure by then.

Anyway, back to the story! The fact that Jason supports her, and what she wants to do is awesome. Because she needs his support in more ways than one to achieve what she decides she wants to do.

Her passion takes her down an avenue that I find truly inspiring and I wanted to know how it all played out. Unfortunately, I didn't get that satisfaction in this book. But I'm hoping to get some in the coming books.

Zoe has also given me the second book, Truth or Bear, to read and review. So expect that to have a review in the next couple of months!


I hope you enjoyed this review, please continue down to find out more about Zoe and you can find her on all her social media pages. I look forward to seeing you again on Monday with Tom Stone Day of the Dead.


Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch!

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