Death in the Stars by Frances Brody

Death in the Stars by Frances Brody

 

35172597Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 5th October 2017

Series: Kate Shackleton #9

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Mystery, Crime

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths – and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina’s elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .

 
Rating: four-stars

 

I adore Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton series and am always looking toward the new release. “Death at the Stars” is already the 9th book in the series, however it can easily be read as a stand – alone, and it is also the perfect book to start the series if you haven’t read the previous books yet.

This book is written in the same, gentle way that Frances Brody has got me used to. The narration is engaging and rich, and the author tangled and muddled the facts in such a clever way, adding tips but also complicating things, and I found myself suspecting every single character in the book – and I think it is a sign of a great author to be able to complicate the things but not overdo them, to throw red herrings at the right space and in the right moments, and as a result we got a very decent cosy murder mystery.

This time the fate takes Kate Shackleton to dressing rooms and theatre performances, and guys, I loved the descriptions of all of this. The author has again brought the 1920’s London and Yorkshire to life and brilliantly captured the atmosphere of those times. Those glimpses into the theatre life, the different acts and performances, into the lives of the artists in the roaring 1920’s were brilliant.
Kate Shackleton is, as always, ahead of her times. She’s clever, intelligent and she knows what questions to ask and where to look. Of course we couldn’t have missed her helping hands Mrs. Sugden and Jim Sykes, and it was such a great, comfortable feeling to be in their company again. The way Kate investigates is adorable. She’s thorough, she is able to see all the necessary details that can help her and it really wasn’t just until the very end that I realised who the villain is – the author has really well played with my mind.

Even though this time this novel has missed on this Frances Brody’s hallmark sparkle, this lovely and hooking Kate Shackleton’s feeling (yup. In my opinion it was a little on the flat side this time, please don’t get me wrong, basically everything was fair enough with this story, all the right questions were asked, the investigation was interesting and full of surprises but there was something that just didn’t sit with me so much), I still enjoyed it. What bothered me a little was the great number of characters – I was never sure if they’re going to be significant, very significant or not significant at all.

Altogether, “Death in the Stars” was a charming story, just as all the others in the series that I had pleasure to read. It is glamorous, it is cosy and it is clever and gentle. The mystery is masterfully written and the story itself is full of surprises and turns and this is this kind of book that you can read anytime, no matter what mood you’re in or what’s the weather – I am already looking forward Kate’s new adventures.

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The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan – Blog Tour

So there, guys, it’s Friday and the weekend is almost there! If you’re not sure what to read over Saturday and Sunday, than please take a look below at my review of “The Perfect Girl” by Gilly Macmillan – it’s my stop on the blog tour today and I am really thrilled to be able to tell you my thoughts on this controversial, hooking page – turner! Let me know what you think after reading it!

 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

 

30984608Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 22nd September 2016

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Thriller, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.
In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.

 

Rating: 4/5

“The Perfect Girl” is a story about Zoe, a very talented piano player who’s made one mistake that partly destroyed her life – she was convinced of killing three of her friends in a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to nine months in a rehabilitation unit. She was 14 then, now she’s 17, living with her mother, her second husband and his son Lucas, and a new half – sister Grace in a “Second Chance” family. Maria, Zoe’s mother, is desperate that her daughter comes back to living, hence the musical where Zoe is performing together with Lucas. However, during the performance, there happens something that shouldn’t happen and the whole past comes back to Zoe and her family, and ends in a tragic death of her mother.

The death of Maria happened relatively quickly in the story so the main question here was who has killed her. However, the same important thing is how this death has influenced all people involved – Zoe’s new family, her aunt and her husband, and that Zoe feels guilty, as she’s convinced that her mother’s death has something to do with her past. She’s also afraid that people, that her family will think that she was the one to murder her mother – well, she’s a murderer already, right?

What had me so interested in this book is the fact that it is set over a very short period of time, 24 hours to be precise, and I was incredibly intrigued to see how the author pulled it off. Yes, there were moments that it felt a little too flat for my liking, or not too significant, but overall, it was a very tense 24 hours, and the short chapters made the reading even more thrilling and gripping – it just felt as if everything is happening so quickly. However, I didn’t find it as claustrophobic as the author wanted us for it to be. But of course it is not only the 24 hours, there are flashbacks into the past, and they were very necessary for us to get to know Zoe and her history. I found myself totally immersed in the characters’ world, the author and her writing just drew me in and I had a feeling that I am a witness to all of this what’s happening.

The story is told from multiple points of view and it worked brilliantly in this book – they were very much needed for us to get a perspective and to get a chance to hear all involved. The characters are drawn in a brilliant way and they felt like three – D people, like breathing and real persons. I felt incredibly sad for Maria, as from what the author presented us she was coming up as a lovely, friendly, loyal person and devoted mother and she so didn’t deserve this what’s happened to her. I also had a feeling that the author sits deep in the characters’ heads and tells us their deepest thoughts and secrets – there were moments that I really felt like an intruder, especially when Zoe was concerned, as I had a feeling she doesn’t want us to know so much about her, that she’s ashamed and that preferably she’d hide somewhere – hats off to Gilly Macmillan for being able to write with such depth.
Even though the story is told through multiple points of view, I didn’t had a feeling that it’s chopped and it run seamlessly and effortlessly. The short chapters made for a very easy read and I had a feeling that I am getting all the needed perspectives, no matter if it was this of Zoe or this of Sam or Richard, who – we could say – had nothing to do with Maria’s death, but still it was significant and important what he thought. It just made the read much more complex but also much more expressive and interesting than for example writing it only in Zoe’s point of view.

Even with the dragging on moments, the pace of this story was fitted. The book has a well mystery going on – the who – killed – Maria – mystery, and as from the very beginning I was sure that there was no – one from outside involved, it made the reading even more intriguing. However, taking this one character as a killer would be too obvious and far – fetched for me so I started to guess who has done it, and reading the story further and further, through the script and flashbacks to the past, it only confirmed my beliefs. For a thriller the story didn’t horrify me so much and to be honest the ending didn’t come as a very shocking to me, yet I enjoyed it, even though I had my suppositions and suspicions and I was not completely wrong. What I liked though is that the ending was on a more thought – provoking side and it was left for the reader to judge for themselves and wonder if the decisions made were right or wrong. And also for a thriller it was more on the soft side, I think.

“The Perfect Girl” is a story about living the appearances, about publicly showing totally different face to this you have at home. I couldn’t help but cringe at the hypocrisy of some characters, about them thinking only about living for show, about always reminding other people they are worse than them, that they are living their Second Chance. The story deals with many various topics, such as domestic violence, abuse, infidelity, trust issues. It is perhaps not the most compelling and ambitious thriller of all times but an intelligent, complex read that made for a hooking and gripping page turner. It was a book written in a very incredible way, and I’ve no idea how Gilly Macmillan has done it, there is something so very hooking in it that makes you feel desperate to know what’s going to happen and keep turning the pages. It is a story full of secrets and lies. There is enough tension in this book and it just somehow feels so very authentic and is build in a very skilful way, until the truth is revealed. Recommended!

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Luxe by Ashley Antoinette – Extract

Hi guys, and happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend – mine was really, really quiet but sometimes it’s not bad, right?

So, today I have an extract from “Luxe” by Ashley Antoinette for you. “Luxe” is an addictive and incredibly well-written urban romance, and it’s also pretty feisty and very fierce :

 

Bleu Montclair knew as a young girl that she would one day escape the hard, unrelenting 51tl1eyvg2lstreets of Flint, Michigan, and when her desperate prayers are answered in the form of a scholarship to UCLA, she knows she’s struck gold. But soon after she arrives there, all her beautiful dreams begin to fall apart.

Endless temptations abound in the form of cars, clothes, booze and drugs, and Bleu cannot keep up. When her roommate gives her the opportunity to make a lot of money fast, Bleu goes all in – and heads straight down a path of violence and addiction that only her newest protector, Iman, can save her from.

Iman is used to the fast, unpredictable, high-rolling life, and it’s always been enough . . . until he meets Bleu. He finally has something and someone to care for that means more to him than all the money and power he could ever command.

Love in the streets is never easy . . . and there is more than one way to get hurt.

EXTRACT

Beep … beep … beep.

The sounds roused Bleu from the darkest sleep she had ever succumbed to. It was as if she were walking out of a thick fog. She had been in limbo, stuck between life and death. Waking up was no easy feat. Her eyes felt as if they were sewn closed as she tried her hardest to open them. When they finally fluttered open, she saw flashes of the world around her. Flowers and balloons surrounded her. She silently wondered who had sent them all. Not many people paid attention to her on an ordinary day. Surely these arrangements weren’t meant for her. She felt the wetness of tears slide down the sides of her cheeks as she willed her eyes to stay open. Suddenly terror filled her. Almost instantly flashbacks of the shooting ran through her mind. BOOM!

She would never forget the sound of that gun blasting off in her ear. She was swallowed up by the darkness in the room. The only light that peeked in shone through the vertical blinds, which had been drawn closed. The sounds and smells around her told her that she was in the hospital, and as her eyes darted around the room, they fell upon the crumpled body that was sprawled awkwardly in the chair across from her. Noah, she thought, immediately recognizing her sleeping friend. He had been by her side since grade school. Dealing with a drunk for a father, a disappearing mother, and friends who changed colors like traffic lights, Noah was the only constant in her life. She opened her chapped lips to call his name but immediately felt as if she were choking on her own tongue. She gasped for air as she struggled to catch her breath. The monitors she was hooked to wailed in alarm as her heart rate spiked from her panic, and a nurse came rushing into the room, waking Noah up with the commotion.

“What’s happening?” he asked as he rushed to Bleu’s side.

Bleu’s eyes were wide with fear as her hands reached for the tube that extended from her neck.

“Bleu,” the nurse spoke, getting her attention. “You can’t speak until I remove the trach. The doctors had to insert one because you were unable to breathe on your own. I need you to calm down, okay?”

Bleu felt Noah grab her hand and hold on to her tightly and then a pinch to her arm caused everything to slow down.

No, no, no, I don’t want to go back to sleep, she thought as she watched the nurse slide the needle out of her arm. No, no … her mental objections were in vain. Within seconds it was lights-out again.

If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell – Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Monday! Today I am absolutely excited to post my review of “If I Only Had a Duke” by Lenora Bell as a part of the blog tour. This book is the second in the Disgraceful Dukes series and I will do anything in my power to read the first novel as soon as possible, because I immediately fell in love with Ms Bell’s writing style and her absolutely lovely, quirky, sassy heroine Dorothea! And really, whatever you do, make sure you have pre – ordered this book – it is a brilliant read!

If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

 

31682976Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 30th August 2016

Series: Disgraceful Dukes #2

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

After three failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Garrett, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might    just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

Rating: 5/5

“If I Only Had a Duke” by Lenora Bell is the second book in the Disgraceful Dukes series and I sadly admit that I haven’t read the first book – yet! However, this novel can be read as a stand – alone: there are some flashbacks to the previous events, enough to bring us closer to what happened and that Lady Dorothea was involved in those events, but this book follows the totally separate period of time in her life. And totally different adventures. Nevertheless, “If I Only Had a Duke” awaked my curiosity and I really do hope I’ll be able to read “How the Duke Was Won” as soon as possible – and if it’s as good as this novel, the better!
Because yes, I loved this novel. I haven’t expected that I’m going to like it as much as I did, but the book had it all – it was a great historical fiction, it had a fierce, sassy heroine and a dark, brooding duke, brilliant one – liners, it was full of humour and action and I read it in almost one sitting. I had a real blast reading it.

The story started already in a brilliant way and the letters exchange between Lady Dorothea and Duke of Osborne had me in giggles. I immediately fell in love with Dorothea – she’s a woman for herself and if she wants something, nothing can hinder her in achieving her goal, for example, she loves living with her aunt in Ireland, she loves being “in exile” and even though her mother and grandmother have other plans, she’s determined to stay in Ireland and NOT. GET. MARRIED. Enter Duke of Osborne. Afraid that Thea wants to entrap him – using the paintings in his ancestral home (hence the letters at the beginning of the book!) – he decides to make her popular, and that means that there will be a queue for Thea’s hand and there won’t be any more letters to him. And he’s right! He didn’t predict one thing only – that Thea DOESN’T. WANT. TO. GET. MARRIED. And that leads to a crazy journey to Ireland in a carriage that had a bed instead of a seat. A crazy journey of those two characters, I mean – Thea and Dalton!
Back to Thea. As I’ve already mentioned, I loved her. She was incredibly funny and incredibly clever, and you know what I adore so much in those heroines in historical fiction? They are so aware of their own bodies! All the heroines in our present times are mostly ashamed of the way they look like, they’re either too big or to small, their boobs are too big or too small, the legs are not like thy should be… complexes; complexes, complexes. But no complexes for our Thea, no way. Could you imagine any present heroine taking her clothes off without thinking if everything is ok and without turning out the lights? Me neither. Thea didn’t have any such problems! Moreover, Thea was also incredibly independent and educated and her passion for art was brilliant and really, she was not the one to let anything stand in her way when she wanted something – but it’s not like she was walking over the corpses, oh no, she just wanted to experience everything, she wanted to live life on her own rules, she wanted to taste the freedom. I loved to see how the Duke tried to harness her and was, in fact, powerless, and I was thinking, go girl, it’s your time, show him what you can.
The moody and broody Duke was much more complicated that we could think, as he was living a double life, but not going to tell you what kind of double life it was, oh no, you must read for yourself 🙂 And guys, oh my word, the author has captured him so brilliantly – he was thinking he has everything under control and then he met Thea, and it was a joy to see how, very, very cleverly, Thea does with him whatever she wants and let him still thinking he’s in control! Standing ovation to Lady Dorothea, really, we can learn a lot from her and her diplomatic ways in getting whatever she wanted 🙂 And truly, Dalton could do and say whatever he wanted, I simply loved him for the real hero that he was, for having so much depth to him, for caring for his mother, for having feelings.
Thea and Dalton were the best couple ever and their banter was absolutely brilliant and hilarious. There is so much more to both of them than meet the eye and they both can learn from each other. No matter how much they didn’t want to feel any attraction, it was there between them and usually the fireworks were flying. This was one of the best chemistry between characters I’ve ever come across!
I can’t not mention the background characters, Con, Molly or Thea’s mother or grandmother. Even if it were only a scene or two that they entered, they were all larger than life, brilliant personalities. Especially Molly – her subplot in the book was not only incredibly funny and unusual, but also very poignant. You can’t help but love the main characters, but it is the same with the others as well. They were all so interesting and so colourful and I’d love to see more of them!

The pace was incredibly quick, and there was a lot happening and I raced through the book. However, there were sometimes moments that dragged on a little, and I mean the reflections and inner monologues of the characters – I appreciate that it was rather funny but sometimes it was just too long and, used to the quick tempo of the story already, they put me a little off stride. But other than that I adored the writing style and the way the story flew, the author has a great way with words and is a brilliant story – teller, I really couldn’t put the book for a moment away, I was so drawn.

“If I Only Had a Duke” was a great roller – coaster ride to Ireland, full of twists and turns, surprising events and undesirable characters disturbing. It was incredibly entertaining tale of friendship, trust, family bonds and forgiveness. If you want to be taken on a wild adventure that is full of surprises, but also a tender, incredibly erotic romance full of passion, than look no further and read “If I Only Had a Duke”. Highly recommended!

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The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts – Blog Tour

On the publication day of “The House in Quill Court” by Charlotte Betts we are also a part of the blog tour for this gorgeous, captivating, thrilling historical fiction. Charlotte Betts, even though I’ve read only one of her previous novels (two, if we add this one) is already on my auto – buy authors list and I am already impatiently waiting for her new release . no matter what times she writes about, you can be sure that the story is going to be full of facts delivered in a brilliant, interesting ways and strong and independent heroines – just what I like!

 

The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts

 

51ssirubnzl-_sx311_bo1204203200_Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 25th August 2016

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia’s father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.

When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell’s cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia’s world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia’s courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined . . .

From the multi-award-winning author of The Apothecary’s Daughter, The House in Quill Court is a gorgeously evocative Regency novel bursting with historical flavour and characters you won’t forget. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts.

 

Rating: 4/5

Last year I read and absolutely loved – so much that the book made it to my top reads of 2015 – “The Chateau on the Lake” by Charlotte Betts. It’s also not a wonder that I was excitingly waiting for her new release, and in the meantime I’ve ordered all of her previous books that I’m hoping to read in my… ekhm, free time. I love a good historical fiction and I was sure that with Ms Betts’ new release I am again for a real treat.

This was a very compelling and descriptive novel. I loved the writing style and the descriptions, no matter if they were of clothes, decorations, Venetia’s work or Kitty’s life. The author’s knowledge of the Regency era is great and I had a feeling that she feels comfortable in those times and writes about them with a great dose of certainty. She can brilliantly create the atmosphere of the upper class’ life, with beautiful warm houses with the tables full, and the other side, the much worse areas, full of darkness, danger and dirt. The language used by the characters rang so true and suited those times.

One of the biggest Charlotte Betts’s strength is her talent to create incredible, unforgettable heroines. Venetia was one of them – I loved that she stood her ground and that Jack Chamberlain found a right opponent in her – she was not afraid to say what she thinks. She was artistic and she believed in herself and her talent and she used her skills to start afresh after the big announcement – she was great with finances, she designed patterns for wall – paper and pillow – cases and she had a great feeling of business, what’s in and what’s out and how to bring customers to the shop that she was planning to open. Even though she had a brother, she was the one to take responsibility for her family. However, one thing that didn’t sit with me so much was the fact that she was for me like a Robin Hood in a dress, and her actions were just this bit unrealistic to me. I really appreciate what the author wanted to do with Venetia, and I also appreciate when historical heroines are ahead of their own times but this time I just had a feeling she’s a little too far ahead… I could understand she wanted to be independent and wanted to work but some of her – really brave – actions just seemed too unrealistic too me. I mean, organizing a militia, going to save her half – sister under cover… I just thought it is a little too much for a young woman in 1813. Please, don’t get me wrong, I admired Venetia and kept my fingers crossed for her, but for me reading about her was more like a fairy tale than historical fiction…
There is also a parallel story to this of Venetia, and it’s the one of Kitty, Venetia’s maid. Kitty is the one leaving everything behind her, hoping for a new and better life in London. And at the beginning fortune is on her side, she quickly falls in love, marries and is finally happy. Unfortunately, her life changes dramatically and it really broke my heart seeing what’s happening, as I also adored Kitty, she was exactly as strong and independent as Venetia was, there was only the “little” difference of them being born in rich and poor family.
Charlotte Betts can really create larger than life, strong female characters that reader immediately fall in love with but she can also create handsome, annoying male characters, such as Major Jack Chamberlaine, ah… Yes, about Major. At the beginning I wanted to slap him once or twice to be honest. Broody and moody, the Major. With the emphasis on moody. And she can make the villains not only annoying but incredibly interesting and intimidating – there was something incredibly drawing in King Midas, he was awful but he was fascinating in some ways as well.

The story was predictable yet not too predictable, although I started to guess who is King Midas rather quickly, after a sentence or two too much told by a character. The end was like a whirlwind of action and while the pace of the whole book was quick, the end was über – quick, it was like watching the events in the kaleidoscope, though on the other hand it reminded me of action film and I was waiting for someone to shout camera! action! at any moment. The book is full of twists and turns and making it follow two main characters, both from different worlds, has made it even more intriguing and thrilling. The contrast between the two lives is great, even though both girls want the same in their lives: love and independence. The twist at the end was a big one, although, as I’ve already mentioned it, it was my suspicion that it’s going to end in this way.

There is plenty of passion, tension, romance, broken hearts and violence in this story. The second part of it, in comparison to the first, feels like a ride on a speedboat, and sometimes it was too melodramatic, too costume drama for my liking, but nevertheless I found this book incredibly vivid and entertaining. There is also – of course! – a romance element in this story and I really liked that it wasn’t the main focus in this story, yet it was there and added a lot of colour to the whole novel. Altogether, I devoured this book, to be honest and I enjoyed every single moment of it – recommended!

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Danger, Sweetheart by MaryJanice Davidson

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.”

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The Obsession by Nora Roberts

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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