Book Review | “The Rest of my Life” by Sheryl Browne #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 17 February, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

d#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)

I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat.

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. This is how I first came to find out about Ms Browne’s novels – whilst reconnecting with the author at Christmastime as we have kept up with each other through my bi-monthly chat (@SatBookChat) or outside of it; Ms Browne offered to send me a copy of ‘The Rest of my Life’ to read in the New Year. I had learnt through our conversation she has moved from ChocLit to Bookouture – the publisher I happily hosted a series of author interviews for in 2016. Previously, I had received “Learning to Love” via ChocLit when Ms Browne was still with the publisher in 2017. This marks my second reading of a Contemporary Romance by Ms Browne.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Rest of my Life” from the author Sheryl Browne in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I was interested in reading ‘The Rest of my Life’:

I had initially intended to read this novel ahead of ‘Learning to Love’ but as fates would intervene, I read them out of sequence as this one was the debut novel for Ms Browne with ChocLit. As I awaited the novels to be released in print, I happily celebrated them being released on Jorie Loves A Story whilst finding myself smitten with her writing life as she would share snippets of her bookish and writerly joy via #ChocLitSaturday which has now become re-named #SatBookChat in 2018. Through the convos and exchanges in our then weekly chat, I garnished an appreciation for Ms Browne’s writing style and the ways in which she develops her stories – I had a sinking feeling I was going to become wickedly delighted by what I’d find inside her Romances!

On the other hand, I also knew – from what I gleamed in our convos her intensified & grisly Crime Thrillers were not my cuppa. Hence why I am positively thrilled she loves to write heart-centred Contemporary stories befitting all readers who love reading both Romance & Women’s Fiction as to me, her novels are a smashing example of how you can write a hybrid styling of a story which can happily reside in both designations! She emotes the drama of real life with realistic characters and back-stories into the very fabric of her Contemporaries. You feel every raw emotion as her characters do whilst you walk away with your ruminative thoughts.

What I appreciated the most about the trailer is that it sets the story up for a curious reader as it’s a story where redemptive qualities in a flawed approach to life and romance can be re-approached differently when you meet someone quite unexpectedly right for you. I like how the bloke in the story is very atypical of a classic choice for a woman seeking romance; who purposely would find a womanizing fool?

It’s a turning of the tables for both of them; each of them has a burdened and/or difficult set of emotional baggage to shift through in order to make their relationship work – if there is a relationship to build upon and that provides the drama which lights the fuell of curiosity to read it!

I will be quite keen to see which direction Ms Browne leads us to go forth from here!

-quoted from my Book Spotlight for “The Rest of my Life”

For these reasons, I was delightfully humbled and happily surprised Ms Browne offered to send me The Rest of my Life – as with her transition to Bookouture, I knew it would be a considerable time until I could get to read this novel. Thus, I was truly blessed I could read it so early-on in the New Year. I am simply drawn to certain kinds of stories at certain moments and I knew it was time to read this second, er, first novel by Ms Browne! There is just something about her style of writing I feel I can attach my heart inside and for this, I am truly thankful I crossed paths with her on the beginning leg of her writerly career! I’ll be cheering from the sidelines now as she continues onward & upward with Bookouture!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my connection to the author:

I happily have had the pleasure of interacting with Ms Browne through #SatBookChat (previously #ChocLitSaturday) the chat off/on for the past two years (or thereabouts). She is a delightful presence to have in the chats and I am thankful she found a niche where she felt comfortable chattering with fellow ChocLit authors, Romance novelists, book bloggers, readers, and other bookishly chatty spirits who alight on Saturdays!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays that come after their initial publication.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Rest of my Life” by Sheryl Browne #ChocLitSaturdaysLearning to Love
Subtitle: When is it time to stop running?
by Sheryl Browne
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Author

You can’t run away from commitment forever

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781892800

Also by this author: The Rest of my Life Cover Reveal, Learning to Love Cover Reveal, Learning to Love

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction

Published by ChocLitUK

on 21st April, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 352

In regards to the ‘heat’ of sensuality & sexuality explored in this novel, I felt I ought to let my readers know this one was at the upper tier of where I think Romance can almost be blurring the lines for what it can encompass, therefore for me personally, it was at the highest end.


Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book

The Rest of my Life by Sheryl BrowneLearning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Ms Browne’s ChocLit Contemporary Roms:

The Rest of my Life (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)

Learning to Love (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes) & (see also Review)

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance + #ChocLit

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My Review of the rest of my life:

At first glance, Adam embraces his playboy activities well – including having a short temper and an ease about himself he shouldn’t embrace with such confidence given how he rides the fringes of his morality. His past is what endears him a bit of not being superficially one dimensional – rather than simply another bloke bent on lust, his emotional disconnection has more to do with grief and loss than reckless abandon of his moral code. The circumstances behind how he lost Emily are not entirely known in the beginning but they’re hinted at quite well – including how someone like Adam might become scarred in the future for entertaining another romance with a woman who wanted security and stability in their relationship.

Counter to his exploits on his boat (as he lives at the marina) is Sienna – a screenwriter who has been told she couldn’t write a love scene if she tried but it has more to do with her experiences than a lackluster interest in writing. Her story involves loss as much as Adam’s but of a different variety. Both of them would smoulder each other into a state of passion without difficulty of needing it to ignite properly because they share a mutual sense of attraction even if neither of them appears interested on the outset. She’s attempting to sort out her writing life whilst Adam is doing everything he can to scurry away to parts unknown. Each of them is at a cross-roads in their lives but with different perspectives which have gained them traction on why they are where they are right now in their lives.

You have to give Adam credit for his bold choices – no one with any sense of self-preservation would put themselves into the pickles he manages to place himself into on a regular basis. Nathaniel the manager of the marina being one of the only friends Adam still has even hinted at this disastrous behaviour as being something which could be his undoing. Still, he marches onward – doing the odd job here or there, tempting fate with other men’s wives and swallowing the past to be tabled just out of view of his heart. Except of course, when it comes to one regret of his as the complications in his life are tenfold when he has to consider one part of his life which might actually be worth saving. Outside of the uncertainties therein, he lives solely for the moment and selfishly only thinks about his own needs without the repercussions you know he ought to be taking into account.

Sienna has the tendency to look at Adam through a pair of eyes befitting her father (the psychiatrist) as she views him from a psychological point of view moreso than an immorally charged individual whose using his body to erase the hurt of his past. She sees him the way he is but still believes there is more to him than what can superficially be construed out of his behaviour patterns – everyone else round Adam believes he’s a lost cause but not Sienna. Until of course, even she, has to recognise sometimes a cad is a cad through and through in certain instances, which Adam plays the part of quite well.

Her best friend Lauren understands her but only to a certain level – by all accounts, Sienna is stepping outside her comfort zone, tempting herself to become involved with a man she suspects can’t return her affections but could in theory give her something in return she can’t gain elsewhere. This is the humdinger of the hour – how two people have a sparked interest in each other but neither of them is being true to themselves about what they need out of the other. One is locked in a self-loathing stage of regrets vs the numbing reality he chooses to live to effectively erase his past whereas Sienna seeks redemption about her sensuality.

It’s Lauren whose the voice of reason in this story – including being the one of sound mind to see both sides of the situation involving Adam, and rightly, wishing Sienna would realise until he had a major change of attitude, heart and reputation – she really ought to have stayed away from his wreck of a life. Lauren is the one who wanted the romance as much as Sienna but she had been slighted from it. Sienna for whichever reason felt it was necessary for her to experience what the editors wanted her to write in her screenplay – as if she were to imagine it herself, she apparently felt she’d lack the ability to convey it properly. You aren’t sure if this is the thin lie she told herself to give her the courage to carry through with her plan or if there was something else motivating her altogether, such as the baggage she had from her recent ex-boyfriend. He was truly the kind who would give you issues after breaking up with him because he wasn’t the kind who ‘disappeared’ but instead, lingered steadily on whilst keeping in contact even if you’d decided to end things.

Change is never easy – for Adam, it feels like he has to overhaul his entire outlook on life whilst managing to sort out his physical wellness as well. Whilst change is what Adam needs, it’s the hardest path he’s had to walk because he had to entreat inside himself to find the strength he needed to recognise without change his life was only going to move from one bottle to another; to one port and one relationship without ever finding the stability of a safe harbour. The complications of course overflow – Ms Browne does a great job at showing what can befall a person whose lived on the edge for too long. Especially in regards of how your adulterous affairs can have a backlash on your well-being and how sometimes, you can push a community a bit too far to embrace your reckless living choices.

The character I felt the most connected to is Sienna – as she’s on the cusp of coming into her own self-confidence and understanding her own self-identity. She had an issue with a past boyfriend which was hanging over her like a bad cloud but other than that, she was still maturing into understanding who ‘Sienna’ wanted to be in the future. I didn’t feel as connected to Adam until the passages involving Emily started to become more focused and etched out the reasons why Adam was living such a dangerous life. Emily, herself was no longer with us in the story-line but there are key elements of how Ms Browne brought her into the dialogue of understanding Adam which I felt were quite cleverly placed. It was one of the better options I felt for finding resolution out of past grief and how sometimes, those we love can linger long enough to help us find our feet again. It was truly some of my favourite passages of the novel, because of how crucial it was for Adam to sit up and recognise what Emily was trying to tell him or rather, convince him of before it was too late.

There are some alarmingly surprising scenes in The Rest of my Life as well – some of which I should have realised might happen – as ex-boyfriends who don’t get the hint can turn into stalkers but the other scenes, I must admit, I guess I was trying to see how things would pan out for Sienna and Adam to where I was overlooking some of the built up for how dire things could turn for them! I did think it was interesting finding out my readings about ’emotionally disconnected’ men came in handy to understand Adam – as he truly was emotionally removed from his life. He didn’t want to focus on anything difficult – whether it was emotional angst or the difficulties of accepting personal sorrow – he chose to live against the tides of his own seasons.

The problem there is how quickly he realised you can’t outrun your past, your emotions or your memories – at some point, when you stop drinking (or doing other self-destructive behaviour) you have to face what you don’t feel you can accept – life is about living head-first into the storms of our lives. Of finding the traction to accept the circumstances and to face head-on whatever befalls our journey therein. The hardest part is avoiding the truth because in the end, as Adam quickly found out – for all the hours you spent avoiding the inevitable, it has a funny way of re-entering your life at a point where you simply want to ‘move on’.

I found The Rest of my Life a difficult read to be honest – you feel pulled a bit between Sienna and Adam, as he’s the obvious one who needs time to heal emotionally but Sienna has her own demons to work through as well. I don’t find myself warming to ‘bad boy’ romantic leads very often which is why I think part of me felt a bit indifferent towards Adam for most of the story. It wasn’t until nearly the last quarter where I started to change my opinion about him – when he was talking with Sienna’s father (now there is a father who won’t let his daughter put up with bad behaviour!) and when Nate finally gave him an ultimatum about cleaning up his act or hauling his boat out of his marina.

Nate is the unsung hero truly of the story – as he never enabled Adam to carry on with is behaviour – he was the one voice of reason who had attempted to get Adam to re-align himself on a better road towards self-healing. In the end, I could only hope Adam’s personal growth as a man and as person who was embracing better self-care to address his emotional health issues could find happiness in the long-term. As one thing I agreed with Nate, it’s one thing to turn things around when things are on an upswing but what about the next time life throws Adam for a loop and gives him a reason to want to opt-out? I think we can only hope he’ll continue to make progress and keep walking towards his future where he can find a way to make peace with his past.

Content Note: Vulgarity

I was quite disappointed about how much vulgarity was used throughout the novel, though going into my second reading of a Ms Browne novel, I had a forewarning as I knew she used stronger words having read Learning to Love. However, this time round – I think what surprised me is how causal the words were being used and how they seemed to overtake a lot of the narrative. They were quite jolting as a result and I could have done with a bit of a reduction in their appearance as at one point, they were a bit too commonplace for my tastes. For me, vulgarity does takeaway from the natural voice, style and pace a writer has established as their signature in fiction – this is the second time where I walked away feeling Ms Browne’s writing and dialogue was strong enough without the additional pepperings to clog it down. A few instances, maybe, but it became quite explicit to where there were more than I’d prefer to see tracking throughout the novel.

Content Note: Sensuality and Sexuality with added ‘heat’

Being that I am an avid reader of Romance, Women’s Fiction and Historical Romance novels – the levels of ‘heat’ I can accept within a novel is most likely a smidge higher than most. Except, to say, I still prefer quite a bit of it to be left for the imagination or to be glimpsed at but not completely explored – as that’s just my personal preference. Of course, invariably Romance novels go into more details than that and I’ve found my balance of what I’m comfortable with reading amongst the writers who pen them. However, this is only the second time where I felt a ChocLit novel pushed the tier of where I nearly thought it might have exited ‘Romance’ and perhaps blurred the lines into Erotica.

The first time it happened was for Sarah Tranter’s Romancing the Soul (see also Review) – however, despite how much heat was inside her novel, I felt Learning to Love pushed the envelope further. I honestly didn’t have to know everything which transpired between Sienna and Adam which is why I marked this at ‘five flames’ as it fittingly lived up to each of those flames!

on the contemporary rom styling of ms browne:

You have to commend Ms Browne for giving a realistically raw account of how two people who both had their shared issues in life could come together and find themselves having a second chance at not just romance but true happiness. Each step of the way, Ms Browne wrote-in an honest capture of how a man whose emotionally and psychologically distraught can move through his life without a regard for the lives he could be wrecking or the marriages he could be upturning because for most of the novel, Adam is portrayed as the self-indulgent prat he is known for being.

I appreciated how she added layers of his journey – of how even the reader was a bit in the dark about what was truly driving him towards being a womanizer and a lustful bloke who couldn’t seem to get enough women in his life to save him. He was the kind of character who kept a lot of his private life to himself, it took a long time to see Adam in a different ray of light and I credit this to how Ms Browne wrote him as he’s an easy character to dislike and disown. Your definitely feeling like being a part of the Lauren and Nate fan club for best supporting characters who only have the best interest at heart for the ones they care about most.

Even the way in which she spoke to the psychological side of Adam’s journey – of how Emily played a part in his spiral and his recovery felt organically evolving. One thing I have noticed about Ms Browne’s novels is how she takes the time to truly get to the heart of what makes her characters think and react in the ways that they do. You don’t have to like them all the time, but she does make a justifiable reason for why they are the way they are in her novels – of what happened in their lives to where they took a left turn somewhere which altered their course. In this, you can have empathy for what fuelled their actions even if you cannot condone what they did, there is understanding in the end for what made them choice to live one way over the other.

Mostly what is interesting as your reading Ms Browne’s novels is how she pulls all the pieces together whilst keeping a realistic edge to the Contemporary relationship. She even throws in a few unexpected scenes which give you a reason to keep on the edge of your seat – as she does like her Suspenseful bits inasmuch as her romantic ones! Hold onto the pages for those moments – as they do come along when your least expecting them, too! As you thread through The Rest of my Life you truly see the full evolution of a man who was broken in spirit, disheartened in love and healed through redemption. This is all due to how Ms Browne takes her time to develop the lifestyles of her characters and give them a realistic back-story which owns to where we enter their lives.

On the serendipity of ‘Alice’:

I had a happy surprise when I opened my book parcel from Book Depository (as this is how the novel arrived) – I hadn’t expected anything except the novel which had whet a hungering thirst to be read which is why I was quite shocked into joy when I pulled out the complimentary bookmark the packer of the parcel had enclosed for me! They sent me one of the limited edition Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland bookmarks from the set ( – mine features Alice with all the Classically ‘Alice’ illustrations and the hare of the Queen of Heart’s on the reverse side! Even the Mad Hatter made it on my bookmark at the very bottom where it talks about this being the second of the series!

Not only does the colour palette of the bookmark compliment the novel but what is more to the point of relevance is I am a collector of Alice inspired art! My first two lovelies were the Mad Hatter & the Rabbit Living Dead Dolls which were inspired by the feature film Alice in Wonderland (2010) starring Johnny Depp (of whom has a likeness to my doll!). I also aim to be listening to the audiobook version of Heartless which my local library purchased for me (as they accepted my request) as I originally learnt of it via the lovely podcast @AudioShelfMe (#AudioShelf).

I love life’s unexpected joys, don’t you!?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This book review is courtesy of: the author Sheryl Browne

About Sheryl Browne

Sheryl Browne

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl has seven books published with Safkhet Publishing.

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY Life comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:

Please follow the threads through #ChocLitSaturdays!

And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle (recently upated!)

to see which stories I fancy to devour next!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My ChocLit readings for late Winter, early Spring:

Reading ChocLit is a cuppa comfort & joy. You get to ‘return home’ to the stories penned in the beauty of the Romantic genres you love to devour with characters who inspire you & give you such a lift of joy to meet.

Hubble Bubble (Book Three of the Yorkshire Romance series)by Jane Lovering

Follow A Star (Book Two of the Little Spitmarsh series) by Linda Mitchelmore

Please Don’t Stop the Music (Book One of the Yorkshire Romance series) by Jane Lovering

Sugar & Spice by Angela Britnell

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

{SOURCES: Cover art of  “The Rest of my Life”, “Learning to Love”; Author photograph of Sheryl Browne, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: ChocLitSaturdays Banner and the comment banner. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination and from the art set I purchased on Etsy by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I chose to talk about ‘bad boys’ in Rom / WomensFic due to my readings of ‘The Rest of my Life” to see what others felt and had to say about characters like Adam. This convo was during our #SatBookChat for the 17th of February, 2018.

Comments via Twitter:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

Posted Saturday, 17 February, 2018 by jorielov in A Father's Heart, Adulterous Affair, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Child out of Wedlock, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Domestic Violence, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Green-Minded Publishers, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

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One response to “Book Review | “The Rest of my Life” by Sheryl Browne #ChocLitSaturdays

  1. “…the evolution of a man who was broken in spirit, disheartened in love an healed through redemption.” Jorie, this perfectly describes Adam. You have completely understood, not only him, but all of the characters. Your review is so insightful and beautifully written. I felt for my characters all over again. I loved Adam because I knew, if only he could learn to love himself, he could be save himself. Sienna, and those few who saw the kernel of good in him, showed him how. Thank you! I love your observations. I am so glad you saw that kernel growing too! :) xx

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