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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paris Ever After by K S R Burns

Amy goes to Paris, leaving a husband behind without saying a word. The ability and ease with which she did this took my breath away. Can one just walk away from a husband, home, job, and just jet off to Paris to "find oneself".

Anyway Amy does just that. She lands on her feet, finds a beautiful woman who takes her into her home and heart, links up with her friends and has now made a life for herself. She also did not realize when she left Will her husband that she was pregnant. Now she is well advanced in her pregnancy, still not sure what she is going to do, ambivalent about her feelings towards Will and Manu (whom she found in Paris!) protective of her unborn child and basically not sure of anything.

Fast forward and she discovers Will has come to Paris looking for her. At the same time she is thrown out of her home in Paris with the return of a long lost daughter who does not want her anywhere around her mother. Will seems strangely reluctant to have any conversations with her, keeps putting it off even meeting her and though she thought he was back to ask her to return (on bended knee) it does not seem to be quite so straightforward.

I found all the characters very charming in very different ways. I found Amy to be the least charming of the lot. She sounds like a spoilt brat who expected things to fall into place, the way she wanted it to. I however loved the descriptiveness of the entire story, the Paris setting, the lives and details of the few Parisiens who dotted this novel.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Velvet Morning Press.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Girl with no Name by Lisa Regan

The Girl With No Name: Absolutely gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Josie Quinn Book 2) by [Regan, Lisa]

This is the second book in the series of Josie Quinn Police Chief of this small town and maybe I should have read the first one, though after a couple of chapters it did not detract from this story.

Josie has faced problems in the past. Her husband, now dead. Now Josie is confronted with a missing fiancee (who has been over the last few weeks been totally distracted), a missing baby, a dancer at a strip club badly beaten with connections to Josie's fiancee and a girl wearing her fiancee's clothes caught fleeing a scene of a crime with total memory class, pretend or otherwise.

Every link or lead does not necessarily lead to the next lead and with pressure to solve the crimes, especially when the bodies start piling up and with the Mayor's husband being an active suspect, Josie is also in danger of losing her job even before she solves the case, finds her missing fiancee Luke and sort out her own personal problems.

Very slick, quick paced, and descriptive this had all the key elements for a good mystery murder.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouuture. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

This should not have been a book I picked up. I do not know anything about ice hockey and the paranoia almost that surrounded the game in this small town of Beartown was not something I could understand!

Having said that, the petty jealousies, the envy and finally the strong emotions that tie people down to a town, a thing or in this case to a sport was hard for me to understand. The town was overshadowed by the sport and the whole book is about how the sport controlled everyone's lives, their attitudes and how they wanted things to work out. That money was involved was obvious but the sport overshadowed it all.

That pranks and minor jealousies could erupt into this with one person dead is quite imaginable but the story did not do anything very much for me. It was almost a DNF but I plodded on. I get books with a lot of difficulty and I appreciate that publishers send them on to us, so I think it is an obligation to give it a fair go.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Atria Books. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

A seemingly straight forward accident. A car knocks down a young mother and she dies instantly. The ramifications of this accident spread far and wide and despite everything to the contrary nothing is as it seems. When the cops decide it was premeditated murder, especially since the driver of the car commits suicide a bit later things get complicated. When Kevin's death is deemed suspicious as well, the police are determined to get to the bottom of the two murders.

Rose seems very happily married to Cian a very successful writer. With a young toddler Jack, her life seems complete. Beneath the surface however huge cracks have begun to form and in Rose's workplace more than anywhere else the emotional effect of Rose's absence seems to be huge. Why is this so. Why do the two bosses - the dentists in the surgery seem to be so effected that it is making everyone else so tense and uptight. Rose was a loyal, good worker but it seemed so personal that you knew that things were not right.

Cian the husband is the first suspect. He is arrogant, a bully and when Emily falls for him she falls hard. She only sees the widower grieving for his wife, trying to cope. She does not see that he is quite happy with the way events have turned up and it seems till the very end that he is the obvious murderer - of both Rose and Kevin.

The final outcome was a turn up for the books. Unexpected and like all good murder mysteries coming out of the blue.

A very interesting story, though it took me a while to get into it.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Avon.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Lucknow by Annie Hall

This Lucknow is very different from the Indian town of Lucknow. A small countrystyle town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Maybe not the best place for a townie like Rosie to go settle down with her sister, after her husband walked out on her.

Rosie finds herself almost abandoned when her husband without any inkling walks out on her and their infant son. Very quickly she finds herself homeless, with no money and Rosie is the helpless kind. Landing on her sister's doorstep at her invitation Rosie finds that adapting to this country life is not going to be that easy. Juliette seems hell bent on setting her up with the local laird, whose ideas regarding a future partner is genealogy and how adaptable and capable a woman is. Feelings are not taken into account at all. Rosie for whatever reason (ours not to reason why) is swept into this relationship despite the lukewarm feelings on her side, merely for convenience and financial security. On the sidelines is another attractive man who is just the opposite of our laird but for whom Rosie feels a kindred spirit.

What would Rosie do and how she does it is this story. It seems a little contrived throughout but it was a pleasant read for a weekend.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Threekookaburras.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Two short reviews. One historical fiction. One a family saga.

Of Woodbridge and Hedgely: A Historical Fiction Novel Set in England's Regency Era

Regency era setting with the Cotswolds as a background proved ideal and scenic for this historical fiction story.

Although the Industrial Revolution has set in like everything and everyone else change does not come easily. Acceptance of change is even more difficult and there are always people who are not willing to accept that a new philosophy or a new method is better or more efficient than the previous, traditional one.

In this particular town divided by religion we have the Anglican pastor promoting one form of thought and the Baptists who are going on another road. Lots of cross talk and high temperatures abound in this very different novel, particularly for this era.

The Forgotten Ones

A family story with long hidden secrets which all come tumbling out in a rush. It is almost too much for Elle to handle. Having being brought up to believe that her mother and she and her long estranged father  were the only survivors in her family, it comes as a bolt from the blue to know that there is a grandfather who is alive though barely so and a grand aunt as well.

That there is a long complicated history fraught with memories, mental illness, murder and accidents are also part of this convoluted story. That her mother obviously was ill and though allowance should be made for this, that disclosure was not made when Elle was adult was also questionable. The need to protect Elle's mother seemed far too important, at the risk and to the detriment of everyone else.
That secrets eventually have a habit of coming out despite all efforts to the contrary is also clearly seen.

Elle was eventually able to get closure before her grandfather died and for this I was grateful!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon

I did not know this was a series until I read the book and it deals with three generations of Kavanaghs.

This is a story with a big cast and maybe because I have read a book in a middle of a series I got a bit confused. Keeping track of them all was not that easy. Basically two families but with many, many people on the side, all very individualistic, all having issues and problems of their own converging into one community.

Very much a community story and one that takes you into a cleaner (in a metaphorical sense) world that probably does not exist much as I would like it to be around. Nice to indulge in for a bit till one is pulled back into the real world.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Penguin Books Putnam. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Italian Story by Geoffrey Trease - from Etruscan times to the present day

Only for lovers of ancient history and history in general.

Going back to Etruscan times and coming upto the present day a concise history of Italy. Rather prosaic in the telling this is nevertheless a wonderful story of the rich history behind Italy.

Concise and clever to be condensed into a single book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

The Subway Girls

Alternate time lines. History as well as a family story with a touch of romance. Whats not to like.

1949 may have been modern but for Charlotte it was still ruled by what her parents wanted for her. Twenty one and wanting a career of her own in advertising was frowned on by her father who wanted her to join their failing store. There was no choice. The Subway Girls advertisement was her way out and she took it. Her family was furious especially her father who saw it as disobedience to his wishes but she wanted to use the opportunity to get attention focussed on their failing hardware business with an idea of boosting their sales.

When the winner unexpectedly failed to turn up, the Subway Girl title fell to Charlotte who thought it was a god given opportunity to use it for her family's benefit.

Fast forward to 1970 and though Olivia is tough and independent, in the business world there is still a sense of male chauvinism and Olivia finds it in unexpected places. Her lover who is also her boss - she expected a degree of fairness and from her colleagues she expected fair play. When they undercut her directly, pinching her ideas as their own she knows she has to find a winning strategy not just for the firm going under but also for her own pride. Stumbling upon the Subway Girls idea of 1949 she knows she has found the winner she was looking for. Tracking down the girls who are now old women and getting their stories and linking the two eras is this story.

Bringing to light a little known piece of history along with a touch of romance and a family saga as well is very well put together.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

On another note, my computer is playing up. I am finding it hard to do reviews and even worse forward reviews of such books on Goodreads and Amazon and Netgalley. Very frustrating.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

How Hard Can It Be?

I did not know that this was a sequel till I had finished the book, but it did not detract from this particular story. The eternal quest of how do women juggle mother hood and a career and most importantly in this case get back to a career after a seven year gap! Especially when one is 49!

Tackling going back to work as a necessity (a husband who is finding himself for over two years), an enormous house which needs repairs, two teenage children full of needs and demands Kate finds herself at a crossroad. I think any mother could empathize with her at some stage of this book with the various stages Kate is forced to go through. Teenage angst, sheer laziness on the part of all who have been pandered to by said mother, indifference on the part of a husband who has learnt that to be helpless and pathetic has worked to his advantage in the past and Kate who now finds herself in the field of high finance, albeit as a junior has to juggle several balls in a field of all young, selfish workmates who look on her as an old fossil.

When Kate is able to land a lucrative contract, the envy and jealousies start and her mates now hope that she will fall flat on her face with subsequent sales pitches. Kate needs the job and now has to work doubly hard balancing her two lives especially since she now finds that her eldest child is in a world of her own and has excluded her mother from what is happening. Added to this an in law with dementia (who is ignored by her own son), her own elderly mother and Christmas around the corner adds to Kate's burden.

The only bright spark on the horizon is the return of Jack - someone whom Kate loved in days gone by and who now appears on the scene.

So many elements in this story appealed. Women breaking through the glass ceiling (this was a high class hedge fund we are talking about), the attitudes that still exist that women have to look good all the time never mind that middle age spread is inevitable and menopause adds to their misery. That women still consider this so very important (Kate went in for lunch hour lipo!!) and death inducing misery with shaper undergarments!!!!, green eyed jealousy and undercutting that was rife in the office because Kate was not willing to fall in with lecherous offers are all very much out there and still exist.. Adding to that, was the actual physical work involved in running a home where it was understood that children and household work was still part of her responsibilities. I know this has changed considerably but it was not so in this book. Richard was a husband that another woman would have cheerfully strangled.

I loved the story but only wished that Kate would have had a little more gumption to handle her husband and teenage children before the eventual collapse. She certainly knew how to handle her work colleagues well.. I was glad that Kate's story ended very happily too! Richard got his just desserts!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.