Out of the Dark, April Emerson
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I really enjoyed April’s The Righteous and the Wicked so was keen to read this but….sadly it wasn’t anywhere near as good for me. The story was told via April’s excellent writing style, but I felt there were so many parts that just didn’t sit right with me that I just didn’t enjoy it.
Carina – at first she’s the devoted, hardworking daughter rewarded by her parents after Uni by a two week holiday in Italy. She’s worried about leaving though, her mum has terminal cancer, money has been tight and she’s been a much needed mainstay of the family. She goes eventually and meets Stefan on the plane. From then on its as if she’s surgically attached to him. I get he’s hot and she’s really attracted but she throws out all her plans for him. From a two week holiday it turns into a months long stay and she doesn’t see her mum at all. She says Stefan doesn’t want her to go alone and hasn’t got time to come with her – really? She can’t go and see her mum, who she was spending every spare moment with and is dying? She went down a lot for me over that.
Then the dreamlike paradise she has with Stefan starts showing holes, he changes so much. I loved him early on but he very soon became someone I didn’t recognise, and the change was too quick for me. I didn’t agree with Carina’s actions over Bianca either…and the way she just put her head in the clouds over her suspicions. she seemed to become someone obsessed with Stefan and uncaring and shallow about anything else. she didn’t fit with the image I first had of her. I loved nephew Enzo, but again he’s devoted to his uncle and I just couldn’t see him acting as he did without something huge prompting it, something major and not just an attraction. The vineyard in Italy and the US family home were beautifully described, and I felt I could “see” both. The family too – although I was puzzled at his mums age, 91 when he’s 42, and he has a younger sister? I know its possible but not common for people to have families in their fifties.
Then when tragedy strikes and the secrets she suspected are proved true its a ricocheting, speedy finish. It feels too rushed, too unreal and so different to that lovely gentle beginning. I’d got to about 95% and there seemed no way it could end, and I was expecting that, maybe I’d missed there was a part two to follow. It didn’t seem possible there was time to wrap the story up – but it was. I felt the ending didn’t do justice to the story that started. I couldn’t see either Stefan or Enzo acting as they did, and to be honest it was really a disappointing ending for me.
Stars: it started off promising but it just went downhill. Its a two star from me, sadly though I’m sure others will rate it a hit.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers
Secret Santo, Carla Caruso
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, short stories
I’m not usually a short story reader, just find that as a quick reader they’re over before I have a chance to get into the story. I like to really connect with characters and plots, and shorts just don’t allow that by their very nature. Sometimes though you’ve only 20 minutes or so and a short is perfect – plus of course those who love reading but have limited free time will often find them a godsend. A friend in this position said trying to read a full length novel when she’s only time for a dozen or so pages each day means it takes forever…
Anyway, yesterday I had a gap of hour hour, and wanted something quick so jumped at this one. Putting aside my usual reservations how did I feel about this book? Well, its a fun read, but of course its light and fluffy, the length doesn’t allow for anything else. It covers just a couple of days starting with The Party – the one that blogger and bookseller Holly has been looking forward to all week, but then disaster, her colleague is ill and can’t go. Holly doesn’t want to go alone but her friend says she must – even if only for a brief time.
The description tells the rest, I can’t really add anything except to say its a fun read, very seasonal, a little insight into an authors mind – and I really hope writers don’t all share Santo’s views about bloggers…..and of course there lies the dilemma, and poor Holly is stuck being very attracted to a man who seems to be drawn to her also, but he doesn’t know her alter-ego, Scarlet the blogger, and after he’s just expounded his views she can’t now admit she is one…
Stars: Three, its a sweet story but I still find that for me they don’t really fit. If you’re looking for a quick, sweet, well written short to read, this may well be perfect for you, just not really my thing, I need more drama, more background, more knowldege of what makes the characters tick and a short just can’t do that, hence the 3 stars from me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers