Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty / Blog Tour

Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 42650606

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. Sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? To the best of us?
All I have to do is remind her of that one simple fact.

‘A superb writer’ Irish Examiner

When Iris Armstrong goes missing, her best friend Terry, wife, mother and all-round worrier, is convinced something bad has happened.

And when she finds her glamorous, feisty friend, she’s right: Iris is setting out on a journey that she plans to make her last.

The only way for Terry to stop Iris is to join her, on a road trip that will take her, Iris and Terry’s confused father Eugene onto a ferry, across the Irish sea and into an adventure that will change all of their lives.

Somehow what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best.

my-review

 

Terry has been married for years and is a stay – at – home mum to two almost adult daughters. Her husband Brandon provides for the family, working hard, and actually Terry is rather happy with how her life has turned out, even though the girls are flying out of the nest and Brandon’s works is really stressful but well, Terry is his pillar and that’s great.
Her father Eugene is in a nursing home with dementia, where Terry regularly visits him. He used to be a taxi driver and what he can still very well remember are the rules of the road, always reminding his daughter of them. It is at one of the events hosted by the Alzheimer’s society that Terry meets Iris Armstrong and those two women, though totally different, quickly establish a friendship.
Then Iris disappears. Terry unexpectedly discovers why and where she’s heading and decides to follow her. As it’s a real on – a – whim decision, she doesn’t have time to inform her family, and she also has to take her father with her on the impromptu road trip through Ireland, Great Britain, France and Switzerland, as the nursing home has to close temporarily.
It is a journey that is going to change many lives.

The book is brilliantly written, with many feelings and emotions emphasized and is dealing with a difficult and controversial subject in a wonderful, not judging way. You know where it is heading almost right from the beginning, but I think I’m not alone here when I say that I was all the time hoping that I’m wrong, and for it to end differently.

The story focuses on a wonderful friendship between two women, and it is an absolute highlight of the book. They were very lucky to have found each other, as it was a truly unique and special bond between them, and the author has written it in a warm, enveloping way, not being shy of showing not only ups but also downs of such a relationship.

This is a lovely story with many funny and lighter moments but altogether it is also full of sadness and the feeling was a bit too overwhelming for me. I appreciate though how well the author has managed to lighten the mood, and the way she has created the character of Iris, quirky, sassy and full of irony.

So now please do not get me wrong. It was a brilliant, thought – provoking book. It started off so promising and kept me hooked but then, part way through, it started to feel repetitive. I mean, there was no high drama needed, as it was a very character driven novel, but there came a moment that it simply slowed down and I started to feel impatient.

“Rules of the Road” is about finding yourself and there was not better way for Terry to do this – I loved how she was forced to take the plunge, to find a courage, to try things she would never dream of doing. It is a truly special book that will for sure tug at many heart – strings and will make you think. It touches upon some heavier issues and topics that we are very likely to experience by ourselves. It is poignant and wise and beautifully written. It shows that we should celebrate every single day of our lives in a powerful and captivating way. It’s so great to have Ciara Geraghty back!

 

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The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

 

Publisher: Penguin 45992911

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Psychological Thriller, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

**THE THIRD NAIL-BITING THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MY SISTER’S BONES AND DAY OF THE ACCIDENT**

No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

my-review 

 

Lisa has just left her husband, taking their 3 years old son with her. She doesn’t have a plan, she only knows that she has to go to Rowan Isle House, somewhere in Yorkshire, because her friend promised her it is to be the safest place in the world. Only after her arrival, Lisa realises that it’s a dilapidated, lonely old house at the lake, with no running water, no heating, not really fit to live in. But she doesn’t have another choice – she needs a safe place, no matter how it looks like.
Going back in time, the plot introduces us to a young girl, living in the same house with her father. She knows him as “Sarge” – he’s a soldier, a veteran of the Gulf War and, as it quickly becomes obvious to the reader, suffering from PTSD. He’s training his daughter to be a soldier, teaching her to hunt, kill and survive off the land, but also controlling every single aspect of her life. They both keep themselves to themselves, living an isolated life.

The characters are really well written, all so damaged and troubled, full of flaws and problems but, as we already know it, it only adds to their personalities, making them more human and realistic. Though I personally couldn’t relate to any of them, at any level, which of course made the reading this little bit more difficult, but overall I truly appreciate how well the author has created them, giving them distinctive voices. The story of the young girl, who we at first know as “Soldier”, is truly heart – breaking. Her father’s training methods are quite shocking, and it annoyed me immensely how much he controlled her, how he abused her, pressing his advantage at every opportunity, making her insecure and dependent of his moods. But Lisa’s background was, actually, not different to this of Grace – she was living a life, being controlled by her husband who has also undermined her at every single moment. I think I simply hated to see how abusive the men were towards women in this book, that it was again a case of the overwhelming feeling of being in control and undermining women from the young age. Sure, they were fighting back but well, did it turn out well for them?
Lisa was a complicated character and I wasn’t really sure how to figure her out. She wanted to be free from her husband, and yes, she run away, which is in fact already a huge step, but then nothing happens, she didn’t have a plan, she simply run in circles, acting without consideration. What bothered me also was the fact she wanted to stay unnoticed but behaved in such an odd way anytime she was around people, so really, it was a bit unbelievable. And the character of Isobel added more confusion than explanation, if you ask me. It was as if she was added to the story because she simply fitted the plot.

The story switches between the two narrations with ease and without confusion. I was all the time wondering how the two stories will eventually connect, and of course my head was full of possible scenarios, however I didn’t guess everything, no, scrap this, I guessed almost nothing. It’s a rather slow burner, it’s for sure not an action driven book, it mostly focuses on characters’, but the setting the scene and getting to know the characters’ was well done. The Rowan Isle House is a character on its own, full of darkness and hiding so many secrets, and the setting in the remote Yorkshire Dales couldn’t be better chosen, adding so much atmosphere and a sense of isolation to the story.

The book started really well, and the creepy atmosphere of uncertainty and danger was brilliantly captured. However, the closer to the end we found ourselves, the more impact it was losing. For a huge part it was a gripping and full of tension read, with the tension slowly dissolving towards the end. And you know the feeling, when you ends reading a book, so fully satisfied, as if you’ve done something special? Well, I didn’t have this feeling here, sadly.

It was twisty and dark story full of secrets, menacing, and for sure not everything there is as it may seem. It’s about abuse, control and manipulation. It’s not a comfortable read, and not an easy one but I haven’t expected it to be different – the author has already proven that she’s not afraid to dig deeper into our darker sides and touch upon hard issues. But having read Nuala Ellwood’s previous books, maybe I was expecting too much, as somehow I couldn’t quite engage with this story, couldn’t get into it. I think there were simply too many moments that required benefit of the doubt, there were too far – fetched. The characters’ actions also left much to be desired in matters of credibility and well, it was not my favourite read by this author, however, as it seems, it appeals to many other readers, which is a great thing.

 

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Erotic Fiction? by Hannah Lynn / Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Erotic Fiction? by Hannah Lynn

 

Publisher: 48729140._sy475_

Publishing Date: 14th February 2020

Source:  Received for the blog tour purposes

Number of pages: 313

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There’s nothing sexy about her humdrum life as a mum. But is her husband’s
crazy scheme a bit too exciting?

Sarah’s mind-numbing housewife existence is turning her brain to mush. With her
third bun in the oven, this British mum is drowning under a mountain of playdates,
bills, and head lice checks. But her man’s get-rich-quick idea of writing steamy
novels isn’t her ideal way to dial up life’s passion.
Drew desperately wants a break from Sarah’s whinging. And if that means
researching how to write racy books all by himself, then he’ll make the sacrifice. But
as he finally warms Sarah up to the sultry side hustle, their R-rated private project
gets publicly exposed…
With an office scandal brewing, it’s only a matter of time before gawking workers
and a perfectly nosy PTA president turn them into social pariahs.
Can Sarah and Drew earn some extra income from sizzling lit without falling prey to
stiff gossip?
Erotic Fiction is a charming comedy for fans of humorous fiction. If you like sweet
love stories, endearing characters, and dry British humor, then you’ll adore Kindle
Storyteller Award Winner Hannah Lynn’s delightful tale.
Buy Erotic Fiction to slip into something a little more lovable today!

my-review

 

Sarah is a stay at home mum, pregnant with a baby number three and feeling unchallenged as a housewife and with lack of career. Her husband Drew is a lovely, hard – working guy who tries to help as much as he can but it often isn’t enough. They’re struggling financially but then, one day, Drew has an excellent idea that could bring them more money – to write an erotic fiction novel. And when Sarah declines, he decides to write it himself.

The author has done a great job in describing the relationship between Sarah and Drew, making it feel really realistic, capturing well the factor that made the marriage drift apart a little. There was so much going on, with two young children and third on the way, with Drew working but the money being always too short, and them both eventually feeling neglected and misunderstood. Then there is of course the one perfect yummy – mummy, so perfect that I wanted to bang her head on the wall, I tell you, and Sarah’s reactions to her were absolutely hilarious.
I think that Drew was the hero of this story, even if he didn’t start very promising at the beginning, looking like your typical working dad, glued to his phone and helping occasionally with the children. Oh no. Yes, he was doing his best and then he had this – in his opinion – brilliant idea, and I adored how fierce and consequent he was.

She has also managed to add depth to this, on the surface, very light – hearted story, balancing the lighter moments with the more serious ones, and I must say that it went smoothly and successfully, she did here very well.

However, very sadly, this book didn’t work for me as it did for so many other reviewers and readers, so probably it’s a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. I didn’t find it so humorous, to be honest, it didn’t make me laugh and for me it was dragging on too much. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters and I wasn’t invested in the plot. I loved the synopsis, it was so promising but it simply didn’t live up to my expectations. I think there was so much potential, and the plot was absolutely refreshing and unique, but for me it simply lacked in delivery. It felt too forced, as if the author tried too much, and you could easily feel the lack of authenticity, let’s just take the scene at the post office – I mean, really? Sadly. I can’t change my feelings. But this novel has many raving reviews and people seem to really like it, so don’t let me put you off reading it, you may love it.

Nevertheless, it was a light – hearted read with a great idea behind. The writing was well – rounded and the characters were well developed, and probably many of the readers will be able to relate to them and their situation, and yes, they felt so human, with all their problems and troubles, being stuck in a bit of rut, and wanting a little more from life, heck, deserving more from life! It was my first book by Hannah Lynn and I will for sure have a look at her other novels.

 

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The 24 – Hour Cafe by Libby Page / Blog Tour

The 24 – Hour Cafe by Libby Page

 

Publisher: Orion 46776590._sy475_

Publishing Date: 23rd January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 18.02.2021)

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

my-review

 

The 24 – Hour Cafe in question is called Stella’s and is based opposite Liverpool Street Station in London. It serves fish and chips, and American pancakes, and coffee of course, to all that need it, at any time of the day. Or night.
Hannah and Mona are friends who share a flat and who both work at Stella’s. Hannah is a wannabe singer and Mona is a dancer, chasing their dreams of becoming famous and in the meantime sharing their shifts to help pay the bills.
There are also various characters who enter and leave the cafe over the period of a 24 hour shift, and each chapter is dedicated to one hour, covering Hannah’s midnight until noon and Mona’s noon until midnight. Even if not many realise that, the cafe is a place that brings those people safety, warmth and kindness of strangers.

I adored Libby Page’s debut novel “The Lido” and was hoping for another heart – warming and uplifting read from her. And while it was like this, the new release didn’t sit with me so well, it was a very different read, which per se is not bad at all, but I had a feeling there is no plan behind the story.

I couldn’t immediately get into the plot, to be honest, and I had problems with it till the end actually. The pace was rather slow and I longed for something to happen, for something that will blow me away. Also, and yes, I know, it’s like in a real life, but mostly the characters were simply so sad, and this feeling of sadness started to overpower me wholly. Hannah was for a long time so down, instantly unhappy and complaining, and yes, she was trying to come to terms with a broken relationship, actually much more than that, but it was too much for me personally. It really takes time to get into Hannah and her head, and even then it seems as if there was nothing positive about and around her. Not the easiest character, to be honest, yes, deep and complex but because for this whole negativity not one you could immediately warm to. She was even complaining about the brilliant friendship with Mona, who was like a sister for her. Moreover, what also didn’t sit with me so well was the fact that Hannah, dreaming of going big, seemed to stop at dreaming and she was doing nothing to fulfil this dream.
Mona was the opposite to Hannah and truly, she felt like a breath of fresh air compared to her, and was for sure easier to like. I’m not sure, maybe it’s only my feeling, but Mona looks to be better written than Hannah, there is more life in her and all her emotions and fears were a part of me as well.
There were probably too many characters in this book to let their voices come through, though, and they left me with some questions open. I appreciate how well they were written, sure, however if I already have them in the story, appearing on the pages over and over again, please do let me know them completely. It felt as if I was given a chance to meet and greet them and befriend them a little and then the chance was taken away from me. There were so many of them, including all the more or less random customers, and I simply couldn’t seize all of them and their stories. I don’t know, the idea was brilliant, but maybe all that the book has needed were really the two main characters, their stories and a few background characters significant to the main ones? Maybe then it would be easier and not so confusing?
However, I really liked the author’s insight into the characters’ lives, and I liked the idea of the cafe and people relying on it so much – who would have thought it, right, that a simple 24 – Hour Cafe may be so important for human lives? It made me see that, no matter who you are in what situation you find yourself at the moment, there is nothing better than a friendly face, a hot drink and maybe an open ear that is not necessarily your closest one – sometimes it’s easier to open up to a stranger.

Libby Page’s writing style is extremely elegant, peaceful and warm, almost lyrical, and for sure she has a way with words, writing about feelings and emotions that I had no idea exist. Her writing is evocative and vivid and she has a great talent to bring her characters to life.

So I am a bit in two minds about this book. It was not a bad read, absolutely not, but it also didn’t work for me as much as I hoped, with too many parts that I simply found not so appealing. However, I absolutely adored the writing style and the idea for this story was exceptionally brilliant. It was a book about kindness, friendship, understanding and following your dreams, about community spirit, belonging and supporting each other in any situation.
and Libby Pages proves again that she’s a lovely storyteller, full of patience, gentleness and understanding – I am curious what she has in store for us next.

 

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For Love or Money by Clodagh Murphy / Blog Tour

for-love-or-money

 

For Love or Money by Clodagh Murphy

 

Publisher: Balally Books 48712979._sy475_

Publishing Date: 30th January 2020

Source:  Received for review purposes.

Number of pages: 381

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lesley has always fancied herself as an amateur sleuth, a sort of modern day Miss Marple without the support stockings.

So when Al wants to hire her to investigate his elderly uncle’s young fiancée, she jumps at the chance. It doesn’t hurt that the job will involve posing as Al’s girlfriend and joining his glitzy, star-studded family on holiday in Nice.

Stella still can’t quite believe she’s engaged to legendary actor Sir Peter Bradshaw. She accepted what she thought was a deathbed proposal. Now she has a living, breathing fiancé and a wedding to plan.

First, though, she has to get through a holiday in the South of France with Peter’s extended family, who all seem convinced she’s a gold-digger with her sights set on the family fortune.

As Lesley bonds with Stella over shopping trips and bottles of rosé, she thinks she has it all figured out. After all, it’s no great mystery why a young woman would marry a fabulously wealthy seventy-two-year-old with a heart condition, is it? It’s an old story.

And Al may be the nicest boyfriend she’s ever had (even if he is fake), but Lesley believes in instant attraction and there’s just no spark … no matter how fit he looks in his swimming trunks. So there’s no chance he’s going to grow on her.

But people have a way of surprising you, as she’s about to discover …

my-review

 

Sometimes Lesley likes to smarten up and colour her life, and the last fib at the speed dating lands her with the offer of a Private Investigator job – what a coincidence, as Lesley always fancied herself as an investigator, and after accepting the job, albeit a little reluctantly, she immediately gets a lovely file for the case. You have to start somehow, right? What is she supposed to do? Well, Al, the one she has met at the single events, asks her to pose as his girlfriend to unmask a potential gold – digger Stella, who is just about to marry his famous and wealthy uncle. A trip to the Riviera and mixing with some famous actors is thrown in as a bonus and Lesley jumps at the opportunity…

There was a great bunch of characters and maybe because of the huge number I had a feeling that we don’t know them well, that they’re not too deeply described and that their personalities are not so well captured. Except for Lesley actually, I didn’t have a feeling that I know the characters, you know, even Al and Stella were a bit too 2 – dimensional for me. I think the author has tried a bit too much to make Stella like an enigma, full of mystery and secrets – it seemed too forced and the final revelation, when not nice at all, didn’t turn my world upside down. Nevertheless, they were really bubbly and full of life and I liked their life – approaches, they were all so cool and relaxed. And Lesley was a truly exceptional leading character, she was hilariously funny and appealing and you can’t not like her. She was happy, living the moment and altogether enjoying the life. And also prone to accidents, jumping to conclusions and ready to take chances – accepting Al’s indecent proposal just proves it.
I truly loved the interactions between Lesley and Al. Lesley had such a special way with words, she had me smiling more than once, and those two really worked well together.
There are so many different paths in this book, so many subplots, and some of them are truly hilarious, like the YouTube obsessed mother for example, and they were a nice final touch to the story. Yes, you could live without them, but they were so funny so why forego them, right? I, for once, am really thankful for those laugh and eye – roll inducing scenes and events.

Altogether, it is a funny and also touching book, filled with sarcastic humour and brilliant one – liners. The writing style was light, easy and chatty, drawing you into the story immediately.

As a huge Clodagh Murphy’s fan I’ve been waiting impatiently for her new release. “For Love or Money” is a bit different to what I was expecting from this author but it doesn’t mean that it is a bad read, because of course it’s a wonderful, hilarious story full of quirky characters, misunderstanding, few secrets and hidden depth. However, I found it occasionally too long, the humour too forced and the plot not as complex as I’d like it to. And everything was happening oh so conveniently, there weren’t really any twists nor turns, which is a great shame. So as you can see probably see, I’m a bit in two minds about this book, that’s true, but it was for sure an entertaining and amusing novel. Try it for yourself, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

 

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A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers

A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers

 

Publisher: HQ Digital 50179541._sx318_sy475_

Publishing Date: 6th January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 19.03.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

One moment can change a lifetime…

The last thing top divorce lawyer Olivia Hamilton ever expected was to be served her own divorce papers! To escape her marriage troubles, she agrees to go on a year-long trip to find the ultimate guide to love.

Travelling the world, surrounded by stories of love and happiness, it’s not long before her thoughts turn to Nathan, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and she starts to take note of her own lessons in love…

But with Nathan over a thousand miles away, will it be too late?

Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Philippa Ashley and Caroline Roberts.

Rating: three-stars

 

Olivia Hamilton, a top divorce lawyer, is being served with her own divorce papers! At work! Yes, she’s been aware that things are not so rosy in her marriage with Nathan – she’s so focused on her own career that her private life suffers because of it, and well, Nathan might have hinted at the fact that he’d like to be a father sooner rather than later… But divorce? Yes, Olivia is a bit devastated.
But it was only the beginning. Then she’s forced to take a 10 – month sabbatical from work, but what should she do with all this free time? Her best friend Rachel persuades her to go on a research trip for her, visiting countries where divorce rates are low and marriages blossom. Albeit reluctant, but Olivia goes – her journey starts with Malta and takes her to Hawaii, Copenhagen, Singapore and, eventually, Paris. Even if she hasn’t planned it, the journey turns to be a self – reflection for her.

The book started brilliantly, introducing us to the author’s lovely sense of humour and promising story. However, then, for me it only went downhill and the travels were a bit dull for my liking. I was expecting wit and fun and some sassy adventures, whereas what I got was serious in tone and a little wooden tale. And really, almost every single chapter ended with Olivia wondering about Nathan: what would Nathan do, what would he say, do they have a future, is there a second chance for them, Nathan, Nathan, Nathan… It was really eye – role inducing, especially as she did nothing to win him back, just shrugging it off, jumping to conclusions and ending the next chapter wondering what he’s doing and with whom. And honestly, the research conducted by Olivia’s friend Rachel sounded absolutely hooking and refreshing but it didn’t deliver – sadly.

I then couldn’t completely warm to Olivia. I was expecting her to be a ball – breaking (in a positive way, of course), fierce and charming woman but it turned out she’s constantly blaming herself for everything, her marriage collapse, for her colleagues not working in a way she’d like them to, insecure and with little humour. Even though the stories of the background characters didn’t capture me so much, I still found them more colourful and lively than Olivia.

The places Olivia visited were brilliantly chosen, so different to what we usually get to read about in this genre, and visiting them and meeting all the people gave Olivia chance to mull over her own marriage, wondering what to do, try to save it or move on, to re – evaluate her priorities, wonder if real love really exist. The writing style was easy and approaching.

The story touched about the very present vicious circle that so many woman find themselves: society expects them to work as if they didn’t have any children and to raise their children as if they didn’t have to work, putting them for the choice of career or family, not giving them a chance for both. It is an easy and not too demanding charming little story about finding happiness, about second chances and love. I loved the premise, I loved the cover, and I think there was so much potential in this book, but it lacked in execution and delivery. However, I can see that other readers enjoy this book much more, so just try it for yourself, you may fell in love with the story.

A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy

A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy

 

Publisher: Constable 49621418._sy475_

Publishing Date: 2nd February 2020

Series: Lena Szarka Mysteries #3

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The only way is murder…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.

Rating: three-stars

 

Lena Szarka is a full – time cleaner in London, very prone to land herself in situations that end with crime. This time it’s about her cousin Sarika’s boyfriend, Terry Tibs, who is also a reality TV star. He’s found dead in a hotel room, in very suspicious circumstances, and Lena has to put all of her detective skills to good use in order to find out what has happened to Terry.

The main character Lena was really well written. I liked the way she was, ambitious, observant, calm and level – headed. She took pride in her work and always took great care to be there for her clients, to accommodate all their quirks and wishes, often having to use her crime – solving talents at the same time. I admired her talents for getting the information that she needed, and not only because she was a cleaner, and yes, people tend not to notice cleaners, but she was also clever and was able to draw conclusions.

This is the third book in the series and even though I haven’t read the two previous ones, and even though you could immediately tell that the characters’ have their background, their past and that they had some adventures together, it was easy to get into the heart of the story. I think it was because of the lovely, wry and down – to – earth writing style that is also easy to get along with. Elizabeth Mundy’s writing is incredibly vivid, chatty and the descriptions are rich and eloquent without over – powering you with its eloquence.

It was a lovely, comfortable and cosy read but I needed more from it, more depth, complexity and challenge. The author has added some twists and turns but they were not of life – changing quality and altogether the book was for me more cosy than complex. Sure, it kept me guessing but not in that desperate way, I didn’t have to know immediately who and why. It was probably because of the supporting characters that were not as deep as I’d like them, and the stories surrounding them felt a bit too easy. And I couldn’t stand Lena’s cousin, I’m sorry, but this character has mostly ruined the book for me – a whingy, egoistic and self – centred girl that thought the whole world should run around her. Altogether, “A Messy Affair” was an enjoyable, easy read that made me curious about the whole series. It was quirky, refreshing and had an memorable heroine.