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Notki z tagiem ‘Piatkus’

Danger, Sweetheart by MaryJanice Davidson

13 maj

Hello, hello lovelies, today I am a part of  „Danger, Sweetheart” blog port and I am super thrilled with this fact :) You can read my review of this very special book and when you scroll down, there is also an excerpt, which is a great thing because it gives you a great insight into the way this book is written. So make yourself comfortable and enjoy!

Danger, Sweetheart

by MaryJanice Davidson

 

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 10th May 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:
Blake Tarbell has a town to save. Rich, carefree, and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads he go back to her roots to save the town she grew up in. Blake’s used to using money to solve his problems, but when he arrives in Sweetheart, North Dakota, this city boy has to trade in his high-priced shoes for a pair of cowboy boots – and he’s about to get a little help from the loveliest lady in town . . .

Natalie Lane’s got no time for newbies. The prettiest gal to ever put on a pair of work gloves, there’s nothing she can’t do to keep a farm up and running. But when a handsome city-slicker rolls into town with nothing but bad farmer’s instincts and good intentions, Natalie’s heartstrings are pulled. She’s about to teach him a thing or two about how to survive in Sweetheart. And he’s about to teach her a thing or two about love.

 Rating: 4/5

 

Oh my word, guys, THIS book! I honestly have no idea where to start, maybe with saying that I have never before read a book that annoyed the hell out of me and made me laugh so much at the same time. After reading the blurb I thought, why not, let’s see what’s going to happen but I wasn’t prepared for this chaos – but chaos in a positive sense, as it turned out at the end.

I’ve never read MaryJanice Davidson before, even though the list of her titles at the beginning of the book is really impressive, and so I truly didn’t know what to expect, and this novel has just killed me. Killed me with its plot, the way it was written, with the characters… I really have no idea how to write a review for it, I think I’ve never read anything like this before. Yes, we have a small town girl here, very rich hero with a twin and thousands of challenges, but believe me, the way it was written changes everything, and the way the author complicates things and adds other sub – plots, challenges (also on the animal front…) made this novel exceptional. In a good sense. Even though I was so frustrated at the beginning that I wanted to put this book away and never look at it again, and only the fact that I am a part of the blog tour kept me going – because at the beginning I had a very overwhelming feeling that the author has just tried much too much, that she was going out of her way with the humour and the characters reminded me of the characters from „The Dynasty” soap opera – it was all so far – fetched, too overblown, too exaggerated and it nerved me soooo much, but I kept going and kept reading and soon I got used to this writing style and I started to laugh. Because you must laugh when reading this story, it is sometimes so absurd and so unrealistic but nevertheless, it’s still funny!

Shortly, it is a story about Blake, the rich, carefree and used to partying in Las Vegas Blake Tarbell is going to get a taste of country life, life very different to the one he is leading and he must exchange his expensive shoes for cowboy boots and who finds himself in North Dakota to help his mum with the farm that she inherited and to bring the town back to life, because everybody wants to leave Sweetheart (yes. That’s the name of the town). While there, his mum (Shannah Banaan – yeah, I know. But you don’t want to call her Shanna – Banana, though I’m not sure what’s going to happen when you do) cuts him off from his trust fund (no idea why, to be honest), so Blake must work on the ranch even though he has no idea about farming, moreover, with people who don’t like him, with a girl who drives him crazy (welcome Natalie, who, on the other hand, knows everything about running a farm and she’s about to teach Blake a thing or two, but also Blake is going to teach her something. But first of all he must learn that Natalie takes no prisoners)  and also doesn’t like him, with a hen with a strange name consisting of numbers only, pig and a pony who wants to kill him, while his twin brother enjoys his life in Venice or some other place (even though he has no idea how come he is in the place for a first). Lots of „no ideas” here, right? But altogether, and this is the strangest thing guys, it all just worked together. Maybe I didn’t connect with the characters so much, or didn’t fell for them with my whole heart, but I liked them and they made me laugh hard. So hard.

So really, at first I was caught between not believing my eyes and thinking WTF??? and laughing so much that my sides hurt. Some of the scenes were so unrealistic and so far – fetched, and add to this dialogues that sometimes didn’t make any sense to me, but it was FUN. PURE.

Yes, there were moments that the events were happening so quickly, and everything was just hard to follow and I needed a moment or two to think where we are and what’s happening and why. There was some randomness in the storytelling, it felt too chaotic and you needed a breather then. Also, I am still not sure what’s happened with the farm and why Blake’s mum inherited it, what happened, what could happen if Blake won’t come to help her and I assume that the last pressure method was visit from Blake’s grandmother, but why? It is also written in an unusual way, when the characters are speaking they start to think things that are written then in another font in the brackets, they were commenting the conversations in their heads and it was throwing me a little off the astride and took me some time to get used to, and the plot was a little confusing at some points.

It is not a book that’ll have you  gushing about the depth of the plot, characters changing and developing, about hidden messages – no. But it is entertainment pure and while I was so sceptical at the beginning, after my initial uncertainty, I truly, truly enjoyed this novel. So really, if you are looking for a good laugh, some work on the farm and a little romance, this is a book for you. There was something addictive in this and after I stopped wanting to put it away, I just didn’t want to put it away anymore, and I’ve read it in two days. I am really like, 3 stars for the storyline,  and the additional star for this overwhelming sense of humour.
And only now I am seeing that this book is the beginning of the series – is that so? And if it is, then I am looking forward to reading the next book, really.

 

EXCERPT:

Natalie Lane watched the rented truck cover the last half mile to Heartbreak and was not impressed. This would be the first of what promised to be weeks of awful days, and not for the first time she wondered why she didn’t give up, give in, and get lost. Follow half the town out of town. Let Sweetheart die.

Not even if he stuck a gun in my ear. Because it wasn’t the town, it was never the town, it was always the people. Well. Most of the people. Garrett Hobbes, for example, could fuck right off. The world needed more golf courses like a diabetic needed a glucose drip.

The truck passed the last gate and pulled up between the farmhouse and Barn Main. The engine quit and she could see him in the driver’s seat, moving his hands, and was he . . . ? Was he patting the steering wheel? In a well done, mighty steed way? Yes. Yes he was.

Self-congratulation must run in that family, she mused. Oh, and look at this. He remembered to kick out the ladder this time. Too bad. She’d  have loved to see him on his ass in the dirt. Again.

“It’s you!” he said as he hopped down, having the balls-out nerve to sound excited. Except where did she get off ? Before she knew who he was, she’d have been happy to see him, too. If anything, she was more pissed because she had liked him on short acquaintance. What  if he’d never seen her in her other life? When would she have found out his terrible truth? Their first date? Their first month–aversary? Their wedding night?

Wedding night? Jeez, Natalie, get a grip.

“Hello again.” He stuck out his hand, which she definitely didn’t notice was large and looked strong, especially in contrast to her own teeny paws. Nor did she notice he had big hands and, as a glance at his shoes told her, big feet, and she definitely didn’t form a theory about his dick based solely on his sizeable mitts. She also didn’t notice how his smile took years from his face, or how his pricey clothes beautifully set off those long legs and wide shoulders, that  the color of his crisp button-down shirt was the same color as his dark blue eyes, that his tan slacks

(slacks? Seriously? Slacks?)

fit like they were made for him

(of course they were; guy’s probably got a fleet of tailors stashed somewhere)

and that his swimmer’s shoulders made his waist appreciably narrow in contrast.

He was still holding out his hand, and she gave it a brief listless shake, the limp kind with the bare tips of her fingers. “You’re late.”

BE SURE TO CHECK  THE OTHER „DANGER, SWEETHEART” BLOG TOUR STOPS:

 

 

Blog Tour: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

19 kwi

The Obsession

by Nora Roberts

 

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 14th April 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 456

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

She changed her name. She changed her life. But someone won’t let her go. The brand-new novel of love, drama and hope from legendary Nora Roberts.

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton – gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor’s identity, before it’s too late.

Rating: 4/5

 

I’ve started to read Nora Roberts’s books relatively recently but each of the novels that I’d read took me by surprise with their diversity, as the author really can write stories, no matter if it’s contemporary, thriller or dystopian – the book always makes sense and the stories keep you hooked. This time it was the same, I haven’t expected „The Obsession” to turn out like this, so the surprise element was there all right, though as much as it was a typical Nora Roberts’ novel, it was also very different – and it turned out to be a story of self – discovery with a splash of romance, a lovely dog and a lot of mystery.

The characters were really professionally drawn and deeply described and I liked them, though of course there came a moment that I felt paranoid and started to suspect almost each and every one. Now, in retrospection, it was maybe not obvious but relatively easy to guess and I figured it out rather quickly, even though later on I had one very fishy character and I was ready to bet everything on him (oh, I would SO love to tell you who it was, but NO. SPOILERS) but then bang, and it turned out it was someone else.

So as usual for Nora Roberts, „The Obsession” is a book full of secrets, betrayals and uncertainty but you’re also going to find there some more romantic and optimistic moments, and what I personally really liked was Naomi and the fact that she was strong enough not to hide and live in shadows of what happened before, but she found strength to find herself afresh, find idea for her life and just look ahead. She had a passion and she knew what she wanted to do in life. She was intelligent, just like any other character in this book and it made a great change to have strong and not fluffy characters. Sure, she couldn’t forget what happened, and I think it is totally normal, because who would forget something like this, but she tried, she tried hard not to think about it days and nights, and it was really brilliant to see how she was growing, developing, changing.

So now, we all know that Nora Roberts is an exquisite writer, but I had a feeling that she tries so very hard to prove it to us. I’ll be very honest with you, I’ve already put this book away thousand times because I thought I can’t anymore, and it happened already after few pages in, and only the awareness that I am reading it for a blog tour made me to take it in my hands again. Why? Because of the very, very, very descriptive writing. Don’t get me wrong, please, Ms Roberts’s writing is so eloquent, rich and captivating but sometimes less is more. I had a feeling that I am watching a film, not reading a book, and sure, of course the author must describe everything but there was not a single place left for my imagination. Each step, each sound, every broken sprig were there, described up till the smallest details and it just took much too long to get to the point. And of course, I understand we needed this introduction to understand Naomi and her further actions, but for me the first part of this novel could be really written as a little longer prologue, and as much as there happened a lot in this first part, the real life in this story started much, much later. Also, reading about the rape and torture, with all the details, were sometimes too much for me, all the more that we experience the things not only from Naomi’s point of view, but from the assassin’s too, and sure, I know it was important for the book, but it was just too much. I admit, I skimmed some of the passages, actually many of them, when it was all about what the „black character” was doing, thinking, planning, but also a lot on Naomi’s renovating her home, her passion with photography, which was great but – again – too much, too detailed, the nature, the garden, every dish on the table as I didn’t find it significant to the story, and probably this is what affected my reading and opinion about the book. Also, from the synopsis we know that after moving places there is something going to happen to Naomi, and sure, there was the tension, we knew something bad is coming, but the sudden appearance of the stalker was, well, strange. As much as I like mystery in the books, this time it took a little too long to the delivery, and again, there were so many things in between that only made me feel a little desperate, as I wanted to get to the end.
On the other hand, thanks to these descriptions, I almost felt like a part of the story. I could feel Naomi’s breath, I was scared to look over my shoulder and the fear, the feelings of confusion, misapprehensions were palpable and all of them felt so incredibly real, and Nora Roberts can for sure pass down the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

Yes, I’m in two minds about this book, am a little torn and it is not my Nora Roberts’s favourite, but if you are for a romantic suspense mixed with mystery and thriller, then give this book a go. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, I just feel a little confused and in fact I’m not sure what I really feel, but it certainly didn’t put me off Nora Roberts and I am waiting for her new release already. „The Obsession” was for sure a book with a difference, about some really difficult matters, about many different issues, written in very hooking, descriptive, vivid way and the author brought everything: characters, feelings, events to life and I truly enjoyed it.

 

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Blog Tour: Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky / Book Review

25 lut

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

 

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 25th February 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 512

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Home is where the heart is … but what happens when a mother and daughter are forced to question everything they thought they knew about themselves? Don’t miss the next novel from beloved bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, who „combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling (Publishers Weekly)” in ways that no reader will soon forget.

Jamie MacAfee’s life is almost perfect. She loves her fiancée, even if she hasn’t quite worked out why she won’t set a wedding date and she certainly adores her job, working as an architect on their family home renovation show. Meanwhile, her beloved mother Caroline has built up her confidence after a painful divorce, working closely alongside her daughter as the very successful host of Gut It!. Everything is going to plan, until the lives of both women are changed overnight.

When the TV network plan to replace Caroline with Jamie as the show’s host, Caroline is left feeling horribly betrayed – and old in the eyes of the world. Then tragedy strikes, leaving Jamie guardian to her small orphaned step-brother and fiancée to a man who doesn’t want the child.

Rating: 3/5

 

„Blueprints” is my first read by Barbara Delinsky, I am totally new to this author, though I can see she has a great list of books already, and a great bunch of committed fans. I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I truly liked the sound of it, and you know how much I like discovering new – to me – authors. I will be really happy to read her other works in the future.

I think I guess what the author wanted to achieve here, showing the women all independent and providing for themselves, unfortunately, it didn’t work so much in the story, as they usually achieved their goals with the help, either of their mum or a man. Wherever they went, the men went with, and it started to frustrate me a little, as they were totally capable of achieving everything on their own. Then Jamie, who suddenly landed as a stay – at – home mum, immediately started to appreciate such mums, but the first thing she did was to find a baby – sitter.

I really like a pace in a book, but the situations here seemed to be like an avalanche, when one thing happened, hundred more were coming as well, and it was too much, too quick, as you didn’t have time to process one event, with the next already happening. Sometimes, you know, less is more, especially when the writing style was so soapy – opera-ish. I had a feeling that when I turn the page a new drama is going to happen, and I was a little overwhelmed with this all. Moreover, it was mostly too far – fetched for my liking, and also the dialogues didn’t help – they were so predictable, and so choppy sometimes.

The characters find themselves in many new situations and even though sometimes I didn’t support their decisions, they did deal with them in the way that they thought was best for them. They needed to made up some very important decisions, decisions that were not so obvious and not so easy, and I liked those parts of the book. I couldn’t warm to the male characters in this story – they were the stereotyped bread – winners, they wanted to decide about everything and nothing could happen without them. For me they were like pashas, the alfa – males, and it was so, so, so predictable! But there was also a good thing in the characters, especially Jamie, who at the beginning seemed to have it all, to have everything under control, orderly, and then suddenly, out of the blue, her situation changed totally – I liked to see how she was coming to terms with those changes.

Sadly, somehow I couldn’t get into this book, to connect with the characters as much as I’d like. I was overwhelmed with the flowery writing style, with the descriptions, with the not so realistic dialogues, stereotyped characters, predictability and drama, baby, drama. On the other hand, I enjoyed the book, as I enjoyed the strong bond between the family and the main message in this story that was to show what’s really important in our lives. So yes, I am a little torn, am a little in two minds.

What I liked in the book is that the author has brilliantly captured the strong bond between Jamie and Caroline. They are not only mother and daughter, but they are best friends, and this relationship is so natural and genuine. Also, Ms Delinsky shows cracks and problems in this relationship, which makes it even more honest, because no relationship is flawless, and also shows how to overcome the problems and stay strong for each other.

The story touches upon some important issues, such as loyalty or ageism, but mostly it’s about family and love, and it also explores the challenges the working women must face, no matter if at home or at work. It shows Jamie, trying to find her own feet in a totally new and a very unexpected situation, it shows Caroline coming to terms with superstitions and stereotypes, and their story of friendship and love. It is about changes and , in fact, the saying if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans would really suit this storyline. Altogether, not this what I was expecting but interesting read.

 

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Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts / Book Review

06 lis

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 3rd November 2015

Series: The Guardians Trilogy #1

Source:  Copy provided by publisher,  thank you!

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback  (out on 30. 06. 2016)

 

 

 Synopsis:

BOOK ONE OF THE GUARDIANS TRILOGY

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars…

 Rating: 5/5

 

So, „The Liar” that I’ve read earlier this year was my Nora Roberts’ first book (I know! Impossible, no?), and I truly liked it, so when the opportunity to read her newest release, „Stars of Fortune”, the first in the series of three books, came I didn’t hesitate for a single second and agreed. I’ve read the blurb before I dived into the story, but honestly, it didn’t prepare me for this what I got – I have never been so surprised with a story developing in this way as I was this time!

I really didn’t expect any of those surprises. If I were to describe this book shortly I’d say this is the perfect mix of Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. When first such a magic scene arrived I truly didn’t know what to think, and I still am not sure what genre should I put this book in, and I had moments that I thought, oh yes, what else? What’s more going to come, one thing more unbelievable than the other? I think my problem was that the story mixed present times with a very ancient history and at the beginning it just didn’t sit with me, but after some time, after some more magical scenes and people turning into other beings, I thought, hell, I like this book! I just went with the flow and let the magic overtake me.
Each time a new character was introduced I wasn’t sure what’s going to hit me this time. Firstly I was a little unhappy, because I didn’t know why THOSE people, how come did they find themselves on the island and altogether, I was missing more depth to them, wanted more of their background – but in the end I felt as if I knew all the ins and outs of theirs, and I had no questions any more. It just somehow fit each other and all the elements of the puzzle have found their places.

So we have six characters, and the author takes her time to introduce them all to us, and to reveal all their secrets. Sasha Riggs, a painter, is plagued by dreams that she pours into her art, creating the most disturbing and beautiful paintings, and finally decides that it’s time to understand what’s hidden behind the dreams, and ends in Corfu, Greece. At the beginning she seems to be the weakest of all the characters, to have nothing of the powers that others have but it quickly becomes clear that Sasha has also some very important skills.
Riley is the woman that had all the right connection in the right places, so yes, it has made all the things sometimes much easier. She’s a woman with brains and she fears nothing, and I truly liked her attitude – she simply didn’t take „no” for an answer. And she’s not only an archaeologist with two doctorates – she has a secret, too.
Bran – at the first sight a handsome, great guy who owns clubs in Ireland and New York. At the second – a magician with many, many amazing skills and possibilities. Loyal and always having a word of encouragement, he more than once saved his friends when it came to the worst. He brilliantly combines present with past, and he was truly a great character.
Annika Waters, and ha, her secret lies in her surname :) She’s so optimistic and innocent, and all the everyday things seem to be strange and new to her. She seems so ethereal and delicate but when it came to fighting she had no equals – and I loved her secret. Simply loved it.
Sawyer King, an American, who couldn’t not join the friends, as the search for the stars has been a mission for his family for generations. Not as much developed as the previously mentioned characters and I have a feeling I don’t know him as well as for example Bran, but nevertheless, there wouldn’t be this story without him and his compass, and I am only hoping there will be more from him in the next books.
And finally, last but not least, Doyle, the most secretive and less talkative of all the characters – looks like he is there only for the mission and is determined to find what they all are looking for. Seems so cold and distant but is the first to help.

So as you can see, there is a great bunch of very eclectic characters. This time the story concentrated mostly on Sasha, and it was great to see how she was developing throughout the novel, how she was finding her strength and powers and began to accept that what she has is a gift. The other characters were brilliantly written, with their personalities and distinctive voices and qualities, and I enjoyed getting to know them and their secrets, and couldn’t wait to see what each of them has in store for us. Thanks to those elements of magic, fantasy, mythology the characters had a totally different side to themselves and they were so different to your normal characters, and waiting for them to reveal their secrets made the book even more gripping. And they have all many secrets, one more shocking than the others, and I am really impressed with them – I have never known what’s going to come and what kind of people they all are.

Also, among the good vs bad thing, there is a budding romance in the story as well – budding, and totally convincing, and the bond between those two characters seemed so strong from the beginning. I loved the base for this relationship, it was foreseen long time ago already but still, Sasha doesn’t want to open herself to this, to trust herself and Bran enough to let him in. But it is crystal clear that those two are destined to be with each other, and the chemistry and magnetism between them is sparkling through the pages.

The plot was great, and after my initial confusion and disbelief, it had me hooked. It blends elements of fantasy, mythology, action, adventure, romance, and also some paranormal aspects – and it all works out brilliantly together. It is a story about overcoming fears, about friendship, trust and opening to love. The setting to this story is Corfu, and it is mostly described by Sasha – she’s an artist, so it’s beautiful. She sees things and details that untrained eye won’t notice, and we are for a real treat with this setting and every single sunbeam. Every other aspect of this book was also taken care of with incredible accuracy, the descriptions were detailed and even the most incredible and magical things and moments I could see in my mind – thanks to this vivid descriptions. At the end I found myself totally drawn into the world of our six characters.

This book was a totally different read to what I expected, and I’m really glad for this – there is much more fantasy to it that I usually can do with but this time it brilliantly, wonderfully worked out for me. It had a great pace, it was brilliantly researched and it contained some wonderful elements of mythology. It was something new and fresh, and I wanted to know more and more. I haven’t expected it’s going to turn out so good, and I am so looking forward for the next book in this trilogy – though the teaser chapter of „Obsession” at the end of the novel has made me feel very anxious and worrying about the characters. Roll on, April 2016 – I really can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. Highly recommended!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

The Soldier’s Wife by Pamela Hart / Book Review

21 paź

The Soldier’s Wife by Pamela Hart

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 8th October 2015

Source:  Received from publisher,  thank you!

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Ruby and Jimmy Hawkins are sure their love will last forever, despite Jimmy being sent to Gallipoli only weeks after their marriage. Amid the desperate battles of the Dardanelles, Jimmy dreams of the future they planned together and writes Ruby letters full of love and longing.

Back in Sydney, Ruby must face challenges she never could have imagined as a young country bride. Finding a place in the city and taking a job as a bookkeeper in a timber merchant’s yard, she discovers that working in a man’s world is fraught with complications, especially when her employer suffers a devastating loss and she is expected to take the reins.

When Jimmy returns wounded in both body and spirit, he and Ruby come close to losing everything in the aftermath of war. They must find a new way to live and to love if their marriage is to survive.

Rating: 4/5

 

„The Soldier’s Wife” is the first book by Pamela Hart that I had a pleasure to read, and I am truly impressed, as Ms Hart is proving herself in many genres: she’s an award winning author for both adults and children, and she’s not only writing historical fiction, but also fantasy novels for adults. I can only say wow, and if everything she writes is as great as „The Soldier’s Wife” then hats off, really, as it is a story written in a very beautiful way, it’s tender and gentle, and the author doesn’t judge the characters at all, she lets the readers to make up their own minds without prompting or suggestions what or who would be better. It is a book about changes and second chances.

The book is set in the times of WWI, and it was really well done, we had a feeling the war is continuing and it’s influencing the characters, sometimes in the worst possible way, but still it was not too overwhelming nor dominating the whole plot, even though it was all the time in the background. It was also a brilliant picture of women left alone at home while their men were fighting overseas, women who must have come to terms with this new life, new reality, take men’s jobs and see how war is going to affect them.

The book is told from Ruby’s point of view, and as she is a very open woman, she doesn’t keep any secrets from us. We quickly learn about her life, her family background, and about her husband, who immediately after they got married, went to war. Ruby must learn how to be independent woman – even though she was already independent – in a world full of stereotypes and people thinking that woman’s place is in the kitchen. But Ruby has never been like this, and right now she needs a job to keep her head above the water, as Jimmy’s salary was unfortunately not enough. I truly liked Ruby – she was feisty, clever, tough cookie, and she mentally was going ahead of her own times – just as I like my heroines to be. I really liked her attitude, she was not one to be messed about and she looked not only after herself, but she reached out to help others.
As much as I liked Ruby, I was not so sure about her husband Jimmy. I don’t know what my problem with him was, I just couldn’t warm to him, there was something pushing me away from him. This is why perhaps I was not SO happy with the end, but on the other hand, Ruby was happy, so why not? I really didn’t know which end would be the best, really, I was truly torn between those two young men. Even though in my opinion we didn’t have a chance to get to know them too well, as the story really mostly focuses on Ruby and her adventures in the men’s world. Nevertheless, their characters – as well as all the others – are vivid and well fleshed out, and even though the book is set in 1915, it’s easy to relate to them all, and to the problems they all have.
One of the highlights of the book was, I think, the friendship between Ruby and Maree, and the way it developed. They had a really great bond and they understood each other and their own decisions but also the relationship between Ruby and „the men” at work was really entertaining. She truly had them well in hand.

I truly liked the setting of this book. The author has taken us to Australia, and I really adored reading about the streets of Sydney, about people living there and their mentality, and it was all brilliantly described, very well captured and really well researched.

All the characters are incredibly strong, outstanding people, with their own voices and personalities that just spring o life. Ms Hart is a great story – teller, and she really made this book something special, she has delivered a novel that is packed with emotions and that doesn’t leave the reader indifferent. Also, the pace in the story is absolutely right, there is always something new, and even if I found some of the passages dragging on a little, it didn’t bother me so much. Also, the descriptions of every single detail show that the story is truly well researched, and I truly adored even the smallest facts that the author has added to the story, such as the letters from Jimmy, that were lovely and heart – wrenching, and not only those he sent to Ruby, but also those he kept to himself; the telegrams – they sounded incredibly realistic, but also visiting the toilet, the way the soldiers wore their clothes, or the meticulous descriptions of the soldiers’ wages.

Altogether, it’s a captivating, intelligent story with a developing characters and brilliant lead heroine that must overcome many challenges, and all of them sound very realistic. I’d go that far and say that „The Soldier’s Wife” is a feminist literature, but very gentle feminist, where we are allowed to see this side of the book ourselves, where the author doesn’t press us her own opinions. It touches upon many different important issues, which make the story so very colourful and vivid. Will be looking forward to more from Pamela Hart.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody / Book Review

29 wrz

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 1st October 2015

Series: Kate Shackleton #7

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Crime, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

A murder most foul
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe . . .
A village of secrets
But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
The case of a lifetime
As the present mysteries merge with the past’s mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn’t the holiday Kate was expecting . . .

Rating: 5/5

 

„A Death in the Dales” is the second book by Frances Brody that I have read, and one that I eagerly awaited – I totally fell in love with Kate Shackleton and with her adventures, and what a joy it is to read a book about private investigator that doesn’t have any modern devices, such as internet, mobiles and other fancy helping things, and the only thing she can rely on is her own brain and logical thinking – it so refreshing.
Even though „A Death in the Dales” is a part of the mystery series featuring the above mentioned Kate (and also, for good measure, the ex – policeman, Jim Sykes and Kate’s housekeeper, Mrs Sugden), this book can be read and enjoyed as a stand – alone novel.

I have a feeling that there is a great successor growing just under Kate’s wings, her niece Harriet, whom the author introduces to us in this book. Harriet is young and has thirst for knowledge, and she by all means wants to be Kate’s assistant. Harriet is like her aunt, outruns the times she’s living in, they’re both intelligent and clever, and I totally adored the ways they conducted their investigations. Kate is, as always, discreet and knows no limits in her investigations, and even though she’s on holidays this time, her work comes first. And as usual, when Kate starts to investigate one thing, she soon finds herself involved in many other different matters, that starts to roll like a little snowball, to finally turn into a real avalanche. But no matter how much I like Kate, the story really gained a real speed when Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden arrive to the little town Langcliffe and take matters in their hands as well – they are the best addiction to the story, I think it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Investigations, you may ask? Yes, investigations, plural, because where Kate is, there are many mysteries to solve. I don’t want to give anything away because I don’t want to spoil your reading – and you MUST read this book! It’s elegant, clever, it has style and even though it takes part between the two wars, it reads like a modern story – but believe me, there is not a single second flat in this book, and it still feels like reading a book set in 1920′s – the vocabulary, the way the characters behave and talk, their clothes, it was so spot on and felt so realistic. One mystery carries the next, but yet the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed with the plethora of information or puzzles.

There is such a feeling of peacefulness to this story. Of course, as it’s a cosy crime, there is murder and many other things that I didn’t expect, but it is told with style, in a gentle way, without unnecessary drama or pumping up the atmosphere. About the things I didn’t expect – it is really incredible how much the author squeezed between the covers of this book, and even though the events and situations were unexpected for me, they suit the story and fit in the plot wonderfully.

There are plenty of characters in this story, but they are very distinctive and I didn’t have any problems to know who is who and why. Each of the characters has their own story, and we have not only murder and a sentence of an innocent person, but we have children looking for brothers and sisters, mysterious death of a healthy man, farmers living secluded with their own secrets, love letters stolen and a little town that – this time – doesn’t know all the secrets! Perhaps it is so because they didn’t have internet in those times and people kept themselves to themselves. But back to the characters – they were all so significant to the plot, and their stories intertwined and made a brilliant, hooking book that I’ve read in two days – I couldn’t put it down. The author pays attention to all of the characters, and even if they are the background ones, I still had a feeling that I know them and that I can understand their actions.

There was also so much love to the details in the story, and I had a feeling that every single word is this of the utmost significance. The author puts a lot of effort to explain everything and to write things in such a way that we don’t feel confused, but yet she adds a mystery here and there and, in fact, we truly don’t know what we can expect and how it’s going to end, which I, personally, was loving. I wasn’t even trying to guess who’s the real murderer because I was sure that I’m going to be wrong, and so I let the author to take me with her on this brilliant journey, together with Kate and Harriet. Yes, I had a feeling that some of the threads were left open, such as Harriet plotting something with Suzannah, I had a feeling they are for some mischief or to investigate on their own, but this, in fact, didn’t spoilt the whole reading.

I have truly enjoyed this book, it has totally fulfilled my expectations. It felt so different, so fresh and so clever, a story written with a lot of subtlety and gentleness, and also with a great dose of humour. Even though the plot was complex and the author was adding new mysteries on the way, it was still a very neat, logical read, and the characters were brilliant representatives of this age. It was truly wonderfully pieced together and I really can’t wait for more Kate’s adventures.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Blog Tour: Masquerade by Joanna Taylor / Book Review

04 sie

Masquerade by Joanna Taylor

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 6th August 2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A street-girl and a lord? London is poised for scandal … Bestselling author Joanna Taylor delivers captivating historical romance.

Can a street-girl fool Regency London?

Lizzy Ward never meant to end up working the streets of Piccadilly. So when a mysterious lord pursues her, it seems her fortunes are changing.
But Lord Hays wants feisty Lizzy for more than a night. He needs her to masquerade as his companion.

So can a street-girl navigate the fashion and faux pas of London society? And will Lizzy’s wild heart be too much temptation for Lord Hays?

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Historical fiction – this I read really gladly, especially when it is set in the Regency London and the book itself has such a wonderful, eye – catching cover! Also, after reading the blurb I knew that I am in for a real treat, and I wasn’t wrong! It was a great story about Regency London, but written in a very modern language – when I compare this book to many historical novels that I had a pleasure to read, it didn’t sound just like books set in those times. But I personally didn’t have a problem with it, even if the way the main characters were speaking was also too modern for my liking. Also, Lizzy was a very avant – garde lady and I liked how she perceived her reality and how the needs and demands of the London society just amused her.

I absolutely adored the descriptions of the clothes, both for women and men! Just imagine the swords by their side, the high and polished shoes… I don’t know why, but I was mostly seeing Edward as a pirate – don’ pay any attention to me :) And then those high, high hair that made so many problems when getting in the carriage – absolutely brilliant and I loved it all! The setting felt so authentic, together with the descriptions and the way the society functioned then, with the way the women were treated.

Also, the descriptions of London were so spot on, and so vivid – I’ve seen all the places in my head, could imagine them all so easily thanks to the great storytelling. The difference between the higher and lower classes were very accurately defined, especially when Lizzy landed in Edward’s house and started to see how her previous life looked life and how „the other half” lives. While reading the story one thing was coming very clearly to light – that either you had this luck to be well – born and then you had it all, or when it was not the case, you must have done anything to only survive. Often there was nothing other than prostitution left to the girls, and our Lizzy, after running away from Mrs. Wilkes brothel, was working as a whore, together with her best friend. But! I must say this – they were whores with honour, really, and they didn’t often let other people (especially women) to intimidate them, and this is what I liked so much in Lizzy – her pride (as it was often the last thing left for those girls). Moreover, she didn’t pitied herself, she didn’t feel sorry for herself, she just went with the flow, but still, she had her eyes wide open for any better opportunity. Yes, we could say she was shameless and would do anything for money, but did she have any other choice? And the girls also had heads for business – Lizzy quickly sensed a business – possibility with Lord Hayes. They also had hearts – but was it possible for them to run away from the slums and poverty and be accepted by the society?

Lizzy is the main character in this story, And she was so lovely, I truly felt for her from the very beginning of the novel. She was clever, she understood nuances and she was very realistic. Her behaviour was not like this of a dying flower, please come and rescue me, oh no, she was strong and she learnt very quickly, and she also wasn’t afraid of taking risks – not very common in historical heroines, I think.
The other main character was Edward, who also felt very modern for those times – he had a very realistic look at the world surrounding him, and he didn’t fell under the spell of the highborn ladies. He knew what he wanted from life and didn’t let others to wean him away from his intensions and plans – and perhaps this is why I truly liked him.
I liked the romance between Lizzy and Edward. At the first sight it looks like a business, but soon they both develop feelings to each other, but of course they don’t want to admit to those feelings and continue they masquerade. But you could see and feel this chemistry, this sparkle between them and I couldn’t help but kept my fingers crossed for them all the time.

The storytelling in this novel is absolutely wonderful, full of warmth, interesting facts, the pace is quick and I didn’t want to put this book down for a single second. It not only tells us a story of Edward and Lizzy here and now, but the author also allows us glimpses into the past of those two, and I really loved reading about it, especially Lizzy’s was so hooking – born at the farm, then had her heart broken, has been sold to Mrs. Wilkes’ whorehouse, and then she run away and met Edward. A lot for a woman in those times, I think.

You know what, even the fact that the book was based on the author’s favourite film (much modern film, let me tell you), and that she borrowed many scenes and adapted them to the story, didn’t spoil the reading for me. It still sounded to me as Lizzy’s own story and I can even believe something like that, a very respected Lord parading a street girl around the high – society London, could have happened. This story was very readable and very easy to follow, maybe there were moments it felt too easy, as if some kind of depth was missing, as if it was told according to a plan written on a blackboard – one things ended, the next began. But nevertheless, it still made a great reading, even if I was missing this final sparkle – it was truly a cute, sweet and quick read, as the book itself was less than 300 pages – but every single one of the pages was full to the brim, full of colourful descriptions, tension, adventures and like a very short, but very vivid, lesson in history. It was also fun, written as if with a pinch of salt, and I enjoyed it even more thanks to this fact. Highly recommended!

 

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Blog Tour: The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts / Book Review

12 maj

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 7th May  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

1792: as a teacher at her parents’ Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine’s safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d’Aubery offers her shelter at his home, Chateau Mirabelle. Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance at future happiness. The Chateau on the Lake is a breath-taking historical novel set during the time of the French Revolution: rich, evocative, and immersive. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts.

Rating: 5/5

 

I love historical fiction, it’s not a secret, especially when it’s written like „The Chateau on the Lake”. It was my first book by Charlotte Betts and I really have no idea how come this author has slipped my attention but after reading this book I am absolutely going to get better, and her previous novels are already on my wish – list.

The story begins in London, where, together with her parents, Madeleine is working at Academy for Young Ladies, teaching the girls, a school that was established by her father. After a tragedy when she lost both of her parents, she and her best friend Sophie, who finds herself in a very uncomfortable condition, both young women leave London and travel to France, where Madeleine is hoping to find her only remaining family – uncle and grandmother, whom she’s never seen before and heard very little about, because her father didn’t want to talk about them – why? Why did her father left France and did everything within his power to isolate himself, his wife and daughter from his family?
Monsieur D’Aubery is accompanying Madeleine and Sophie on the way and, as the political situation in France changes, the tempers changes and foreigners and the higher classes are not safe in France anymore, all three travel to Etienne’s family Chateau to stay there as long as necessary.

To be honest, I found the first few pages of the book very hard to get through, and the story started slowly for me, but it very quickly gained speed and, after getting used to the writing style, the book has made an effortless and incredibly gripping read. I immediately fell for Madeleine and my heart went out to her, and it made me astonishingly sad to see how many tragedies and unfairness fell on this young girl, and yet she always found enough strength in her to hold her head high, find a solution and go forward.

I’ve warmed to Madeleine immediately. She might have seem to be a little upright and tense through the first few pages of the book but then she spread her wings and showed us her true face, which I absolutely adored. She was fierce, she was clever, sharp – minded and – tongued and she wasn’t a little madam, fainting all the time and spoiled, oh no, she knew what she wanted and she went for this. She was a loyal and faithful friend and I would say that she never lost her hope – even though the author has thrown many obstacles under her feet and made her life more than complicated. When you though that nothing worse can happen to Madeleine, then you turned the page and well, here it was, the next thing going so wrong for her. She was way ahead of her times – not only was she educated but she was also thinking hard person.

This time our Madeleine has not one, but two, handsome heroes to her. The first one is the owner of the Chateau Mirabelle, Comte Etienne D’Aubrey – at the beginning a very mysterious person, with a dark past and I was not absolutely sure if I could trust him or not, but slowly, as the plot developed and the tension grew, I was falling in love with him, with him being so honourable and fair and well, even sooner than his story was explained, that was it for me, I was officially swooning and I wanted to nurse him by myself. I absolutely adored how they teamed up with Madeleine, they were the couple made in heaven and the small problems and clashing at the beginning just peppered the story a little.

Jean Luc Viard, Etienne’s best friend, his estate manager, and there was so much more to him than meet the eye, but again, the author has so incredibly well described his character, made him three – dimensional and complex and my opinion about him was constantly changing, even though I had my own suspicions. Those solidified at the end of the book but never, ever in a million year have I expected this what happened to Jean Luc. He could for sure manipulate people and their minds, but on the other hand he had this other side to him, he was gallant and adorable. Nevertheless, I personally was thinking all the time when he entered the scenes that he is there to stir troubles, that he had ulterior motives. I can understand Madeleine’s attraction to him – well, Etienne’s situation was not easy, his wife disappeared many years ago and people either thought she run away with her lover or that Etienne has murdered her, but as her body was never found, Etienne was not free and couldn’t marry again, and so Madeleine, who was a young woman, dreamed of a family of her own, and even though her gut feeling was telling her there is something not right with Jean Luc, she let him to adore her.

There was also a great bunch of some background characters, many of them in fact, and all of them, even if they only entered a scene for a short while, were people with their own lives, felt realistic and all of them added tons to the story. I might have liked some of them, or mostly disliked, but I enjoyed reading about them as much as reading about the main characters.

The Chateau on the Lake was a character of its own. The descriptions of it were absolutely realistic and I could see it as if in a kaleidoscope, and it is incredible how much the house witnessed – it could tell more than one story! Life there was so different to the rest of the country absorbed in revolution and civil wars, and here again hats off to the author, who could so vividly describe the differences between countryside and the capital city, between the lives of people living here and there. But as much as the Chateau could be perceived by Madeleine and Sophie as a safe place where they could both hide together with their secrets, it is full of secrets and danger.

This book is also a fabulously interesting lesson of history in a nutshell. It doesn’t only regards the Revolution in a one – sided way but the author gives us different views and options, without judging. She lets us built up our own opinions about the happenings and people. She also incredibly well captured the atmosphere of France encompassed by the revolution, no matter if it was in Paris or smaller towns, and the tempers of the Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. Also, she is a champion in building the tension – it was almost palpable through the pages and I could bet everything that something truly awful and dangerous is going to happen – I only haven’t expected what! Really, Charlotte Betts has so taken me by surprise…! The whole book in fact is full of twists and turns and is packed with secrets, but the last part of it is an absolute surprise, and when I thought there is no way out from some of the situations, Madeleine and Etienne proved me wrong. When I though that Madeleine has already showed everything and done everything, there came a situation that she again overdone herself and I couldn’t stop but cheer her on and felt my respect for her growing bigger and bigger.

As I have already mentioned, I haven’t read any Charlotte’s books before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I needn’t have to worry because it was one of the best reads this year. This author has incredible way to bring all the characters and their surroundings to life. It is not only the heroes in the book that are astonishingly well and vividly described, but also everything that concerns them – clothes, food, homes. It’s all fabulously colourful and realistic, and I really felt as if I were reading a history book, but written in much, much more interesting way.

There is a perfect mix of historical facts and fiction, and it’s written in such an accessible, easy to follow way, and I truly didn’t want to leave Madeleine and Sophie’s worlds for a single second. The author has brilliantly captured the atmosphere, the terror people felt, and Madeleine witnessing a part of history being made was written with incredible feeling.

The author in a very realistic way described the realities of Revolution and civil war, and especially the scenes when beheading the King were described have haunted me for a very long time. Yes, you could say those were gory details. But then we were quickly back in the idyllic chateau, far away (or so we thought!) from the plotting, betrayals and spies. At first incredible difference, guillotine, starving peasants and riot were seen only in the big cities, but now they are also slowly seeping into the countryside and nobody is safe…

I’ve already said that the book started a little slowly for me, but when it gained speed, it didn’t stop. As soon as Madeleine and Sophie left London something new happened on almost every page, and there was so much that I didn’t see coming!

This book is a perfect mix of history, romance and drama and I am already making a place on my bookshelf for Charlotte’s previous novels. She has so seamlessly brought together the story of Madeleine, Sophie and Etienne together with the historical background. The writing style is hooking, realistic and so very vivid and the story was, in fact, unputdownable. I’d recommend it to all, no matter if you like historical fiction or not, because it’s one helluva novel!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings. Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children had grown up. The Apothecary’s Daughter is her debut novel and won the You Write On Book of the Year in 2010, the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers in 2011 and the RoNA’s Historical Category award for 2013. The sequel, The Painter’s Apprentice was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Festival of Romance’s Best Historical Read Award in 2012. The Spice Merchant’s Wife was published in 2013 and won the Festival of Romance’s Best Historical Read Award in 2013.

 

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Blog Tour: The Liar by Nora Roberts / Book Review

17 kwi

The Liar by Nora Roberts

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 16th April  2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 Synopsis:

When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But his death reveals a horrible truth – Richard was a liar and a cheat. Now Shelby is left with the consequences – huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.

Heart-broken but unbowed, Shelby is determined to fix her problems – if only for the sake of her gorgeous little daughter Callie. Returning home to Tennessee and the family she thought she’d lost for ever, she discovers a new sense of strength and freedom. And hope, too, in the handsome form of carpenter Griffin Lott – a straight-dealing man who couldn’t lie to her if he tried.

But not everyone is thrilled to see Shelby Pomeroy back in town. And when a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard’s shady business, it becomes clear that she is not safe from him, even in death. With her life in danger, Shelby must face the lies of the past – or lose everything.

Rating: 4/5

 

However strange and unbelievable it may sound, „The Liar” is my first Nora Roberts’ book. I really don’t know how it’s possible, she’s just must have slipped away among all the other authors, and so I was double excited when this book arrived on my doorstep. And it is an impressive book: hardcover, and over 500 pages long, when I saw it I could only say „wow”. And after reading it, I will make sure to check Nora’s previous titles – hearing a lot of good things about her and her stories, and „The Liar” was also a very hooking read.

We get to know Shelby right after her husband died in a boat accident, and in a moment when she realizes that her luxury life was one, big lie. She discovers Richard had many secrets, was an adulterer, a con man and liar, who left her up to her eyeballs and higher in debt. After finding a box with gun, cash and different ID papers, Shelby realises that she never knew the man she has married. As Richard of course never let Shelby work or to be concerned with the finances, she had no idea – till now – that the house is mortgaged, the furniture is not paid for and a foreclosure is coming. There is also no insurance policy, and no college found for their daughter Callie, although Richard assured her he has all of this organized.
Trying to get a grip on this mess, she moves back home to her family, who welcomes her back with open arms, even though Shelby has run away from them with Richard five years ago. She quickly gets used to the rhythm of Rendezvous Ridge in Tennessee, and she quickly meets Griff, a local building contractor.
Just as Shelby is finding her own feet again and rebuilding her life, Richard’s partners appear from nowhere (actually, from prison – they were charged for break – ins and theft, Richard has then disappeared) and they want their share of… 30 million dollars, in jewellery and stamps, that they stole together. They bring bad demons back with them, but the worse is still to come…

Perhaps it lies on the length of the book, but it started slowly, very slowly, and I kept going only because some of my fellow bloggers told me it’s going to really kick off soon. And yes, eventually it could capture my full attention, but only after 200 pages or so. But nevertheless, what we get after this 200 pages is a captivating, hooking book, a very eclectic book about family, betrayal, friendship, mystery, murder, written in a great, smooth way, with a brilliant dose of humour.

I have truly started enjoying the book when Shelby came back home, to her parents and the big family. As soon as I’ve read how warm they welcomed her back, I was in love. Nora Roberts incredibly vividly and realistically describes this family life and relationship between the family members, and also this village life, the dynamics between the neighbours, and there is so much heart to it all! There was such a cosy feeling to this small town, Rendezvous Ridge in Tennessee, and I think I loved all about it, from the people and the way they talked to the feeling of community.

Also, one of the strongest point in the book is Shelby, the main character. Yes, she let Richard to totally pacify her but on the other hand, she was young, very young, and we also learn later why she stood for all the humiliation. When she already realised that she’s really on her own, and that her little girl depends on her, there was nothing stopping her, and she proved she’s strong, brave and determined. She never felt sorry for herself, even if she didn’t understand what happened, and why Richard was like this towards her and their daughter. She was a really likeable and believable heroine and I absolutely adored the transformation in her. At the beginning she was so lost, overwhelmed by the amount of her husband’s lies, slowly realising that her life was only illusion, but I think that, as much as she was a strong woman, this fact, and that she now must have managed by herself and pay back the debts her husband left her with, made her „click” and develop far more stronger back bone, and made her unbreakable in the future.

And I loved Griff. Oh my, how I loved Griff. He was everything a girl could dream of, period. He was a hard – working, having both feet on the ground man who felt in love not only with Shelby, but also with her daughter (though I must say right here that I personally haven’t fell in love with Shelby’s daughter. She’s more or less the same age as my Sophie but they are totally different – and I prefer my own daughter, who’s not so spoiled as Callie. Callie was, in my eyes, too small for her age – mentally). The author has also brilliantly described the romance between him and Shelby, there was an immediate attraction between those two and it was just palpable through the pages, developing into something serious, with – of course – few obstacles for the couple as well. Life isn’t easy, right?

Rendezvous Ridge was a hilarious little town! Nora Roberts has managed to conjure this special atmosphere and create characters that are so characteristic to such places, but not everyone can describe them in such a way as she did. There are all kinds of people there, from the very lovely and understanding to those who you just love to hate and want to slap hard, just like Shelby did. You have the friendly policeman and girls that Shelby went together to school with, all kinds of girls of course, the very best friends and those who were absolutely jealous for not being make a prom queen and still bearing the grudge.

There is a mystery in the book, and there was a moment that I started to guess what happened, and what didn’t, but to the last moment we are really kept in suspense. When it comes to the revelation, the scenes that takes us through are incredible and they gave me a shiver or two. It is all incredibly well and detailed described, and the hate in the assassin is so palpable… I don’t know what I would do on Shelby’s place, hats off to you, girl, you rule, really!

The end, in comparison to the slow, comfortable pace of the book, is totally different, it’s incredibly fast but I wouldn’t say that it’s too rushed. If you think how much time and pages the author devoted to Shelby delving into her husband’s life and trying to understand his lies, or on describing the background characters, or focusing on the town’s everyday life, this fast and furious end may come as a shock, really. Yes, in fact everything is cleared and explained on only few pages but everything makes sense and is very neatly wrapped up. I might not be a fan of such an abrupt end, but in fact I liked it, and it’s great that the author leaves no questions open.

Altogether, it might have been a predictable read, both in the romance and suspense aspect, but still it made an enjoyable read. It might also not have been the most original plot, but Nora Roberts’ way of telling the story, and her ability to draw the reader into the heart of the action made it an interesting story. If you are in need of a good thriller, mystery, romance in one, this is a book for you. In the end I have truly enjoyed it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times–bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 400 million copies of her books in print.

 

Blog Tour: Slow Burn by K. Bromberg / Book Review

30 mar

Slow Burn by K. Bromberg

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 26th March 2015

Series: Driven #5

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Driven series. 

One Night. That’s all it was supposed to be.

Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while….There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked….

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

Rating: 4/5

 

„Slow Burn” is my first book by K. Bromberg, and also my first novel in the Driven series, but nevertheless, I’d say it can be perfectly read as a stand – alone. The premise to the story sounded so intriguing that I couldn’t say no to this book, could I? Of course not!

Haddie lost her sister six months ago to cancer. She left behind a grieving husband and a little girl as well, not only Haddie. The breast cancer gene runs in the family and this is why Haddie can’t sleep sound. And this is also why she doesn’t want to commit, why she keeps all the man at a distance. But. Can she also keep Becks at arm’s length? OK, the deal was, no strings attached, but can she overcome her feelings?
Becks knows Haddie and he knows that it may not work out, that he shouldn’t get involved, that he may be very hurt, but he can’t help it. He makes it clear, although Haddie refuses getting serious with him. But can it stay like this for ever? Haddie must decide: yes or no…

What was outstanding for me was the fact that the book started with a kick and ended with a kick. The author has thrown us immediately into the whirlwind of action, the story began with the first word without the unnecessary descriptions and introductions, and it continued like this. I didn’t have a feeling that I’m missing something from the previous books, as everything was clearly explained and I didn’t have, as it usually is with books written as part of series, to guess and never know if I’m right or not.

I wasn’t sure what to do with our Haddie. I understand where she was coming from, she was still grieving after seeing her sister dying, and because the cancer gene is running in the family, and so she’s always full of „what ifs”, of fear, of questions, but on the other hand, you can’t make yourself miserable, unhappy because of this and you can’t live in fear that it happens to you too. I wanted either to shake her, bang her head on the wall or just hug her. It was so heartbreaking to see that she’s pushing away the man she’s so attracted to just because of fear that she’s going to die and for not wanting to put him in the same situation as her brother – in – law is.
Beckett was a great character and I liked him totally, especially his patience and his understanding. A man every mother would like to have as her son – in – law.

The chemistry between Haddie and Becks was brilliantly described, it was, in fact, almost palpable through the pages. The contrast between these two is also so visible, where Haddie is closed, Becks is open, where she’s raw, he’s smooth, where she’s not sure, he’s dead certain. But they just belong to each other, basta, they team up perfectly, they just click. Their story is a rollercoaster of pushing away and attracting, of closeness and distance, and while you may say, oh no, again this will they/won’t they, I can assure you it works out in this story perfectly, it doesn’t last long or lose its dynamic. No way. It’s perfect.

What I also liked is the fact that we get the chance to know two points of view, this of Haddie and this of Becks. These two couldn’t be more different, but perhaps this is why this book feels so realistic and honest. Haddie’s is full of despair, it’s like a cry for help, but also this of a tough cookie, a girl who knows what she wants. Beck’s voice was like a voice of reason, but reason that was brutally honest, so honest that it sometimes hurt. It was absolutely great to be able to switch the voices, as they were so different to each other.

As I have already mentioned, it was my first book by K. Bromberg, but I was immediately hooked to the story, also thanks to the writing style, which is quick and no – nonsense like. She has written a very refreshing, sexy romance that feels very realistic, with great, quick dialogues and some really good one – liners. The pace is great and even the main characters coming together and flailing apart seems totally right. It’s full of twists and turns, with a very realistic feeling to it. Very sexy book, hot, steamy sexy, but not vulgar, oh no, in opposition, it was full of all kind of emotions: raw emotions, real emotions.

There is a depth to this book that I, to be honest, haven’t expected. I was thinking it’s going to be the next sexy romance, but it was not only this but much, much more. The author perfectly balances the witty one – liners and the more sombre tone to the story together.

Even with the author throwing us in the depth of action right at the start, the beginning felt a little too slow for my liking, but it quickly gained pace and kept it from there. The story developed, as well as the characters, and it made a very gripping reading.

„Slow Burn” is a story of loss and hope, grief and love, fear and courage. Be prepared that you’ll be laughing and in the next moment shedding tears. It has interesting characters, great story and it’s full of all kind of emotions.