The Space Between, Kate Canterbary
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Book two in the series and I was so pleased to see it. It reminds me a bit of the Kat and Stone Bastion book series No Weddings. Not in the content, but in the style its written, much of it first person, pathos and humour, a story that makes the reader see both sides, and a supportive, though at times bickering, family who run a business together utilising each persons strengths. Where NW gave us fabulous descriptive parties that I could envisage, and delicious inventive cakes, this family’s story gives us incredible buildings, insights into sustainable mechanics, and just what can be done to old and new buildings. Sustainable future is something I’m passionate about too – and of course we’ve a story that mixes humour with tears, passion, romance and smouldering sex, with deep, dark drops that made me really sad.
I loved the first book, though I floundered a bit on working out the back story and how everyone related. I’m still a little in the dark, but as the story grows more becomes clear. The stories centre around the Walsh siblings, and what a terrific group they are. Four brothers, two sisters, ( I’m desperate to know what brought on the breach between Erin and Shannon – 5 years is a long time to hold a grudge) and all apart from Erin work together in their own firm. They each have specialised talents and different characters, very, very different. Patrick as the oldest is known for being abrupt to the point of rudeness, but passionate about his work and a born leader. They’ve all got nicknames and his is Optimus. ( My boys were Transformers fans as kids, so I recognise the irony of it. I love Matt’s wife-to-be, Lauren’s name – Miss Honey, she’s a schoolteacher/owner and they’ve taken the name from Roald Dahl’s book Matilda)
Finally the firm is taking on its first intern, and Andy appears. From the first sight of her Patrick is struck – and he hates losing control. He doesn’t want to take her even though she’s undoubtedly perfect for the job, tries to say “no” at the interview but Andy’s having none of it. He’s her hero, his dissertation has been her inspiration and bedtime reading for years, this is the job she’s aimed for since her teens, and she’s getting it. As he interrupts her and starts to say No, she stops him and tells him she hasn’t finished speaking….. Needless to say she gets the position, and its Patrick she’ll be working with.
The first few weeks are a nightmare for him, he can’t concentrate, her nearness affects his thoughts, his speech and his actions. He’s so abrupt in the office about her the others think he hates her but nothing could be further from the truth. When they’re out on site he manages to wrangle her lunching with him, and thinks up every excuse he can for them to spend more time together. Somehow this self contained, ever composed, always in control man is soon in the throes of a passionate affair with Andy. She’s afraid for her reputation, doesn’t want people gossiping, saying she only get the job because she’s sleeping with him. Patrick is just mentally displaced and can’t work out what’s happened, just knows he can’t get enough of her. I love the way they are together, and it’s like they are just so perfect. Still, the secret romance gradually gets to be more widely known in the family, but just as it seems as if they are finally going to go public, tell everyone they’re in love all goes wrong. Terribly wrong, and the old prejudices on both sides that have made them both hold parts of themselves back so far, snake out and they say things they regret.
Poor Patrick, and poor Andy. He regrets what happened and what he said, she can see where she’s maybe jumped to conclusions and yet she can’t go back, or maybe that’s won’t. She’s afraid that everything she’s spent years working for will be lost…and won’t respond to his apologies. Its a really sad time – and I love those, and for me its extended perfectly, to the point where I wondered whether this would continue to another book…( it doesn’t, no cliff hangers) I just couldn’t see how they’d come back, how Andy could put things behind her.
Along with the Patrick and Andy story, there’s the overall smaller plots regarding the family, changes within the firm, the aftermath of the death and reading of their fathers Will, Matt and Lauren’s wedding, and the mystery surrounding Erin. Its a family full of secrets, a family so hurt by their fathers actions. He loved them dearly, they were a wonderful, close and happy family for years, until when Patrick was eleven their mother died in really tragic and bloody circumstances, dying in front of her young children. Their dad seemed to blame them, has been a drunken and angry father since, and his rages against each of them were vitriolic, so cruel and destructive, picking at what he knew were weak spots and creating as much hurt as he could. Really its a wonder they survived so well, and it’s made them a very tight knit family. The earlier part where in book one I said it felt like I didn’t know the backstory is gradually coming out, and I feel I know so much more about the family this way. Its so massive the background that this show way of letting me see the past is best, had it been just “told” then I think I’d not have got the full impact of the horror that was their childhood after their mothers death. I hate being told a plot anyway, I find I just switch off, and don’t remember essential info, so this way has proved great for me, even though I had initial misgivings.
I certainly want to read more from the family but who next? Erin? with whatever’s between her and Shannon, or Shannon with her full on aggressive man-eater kind of outlook that’s probably covering a vulnerable and hurt inside. Or Sam, the gentle soul on the surface, but with deep emotional issues simmering beneath, the man who their father mocked and called gay even though he’s always out with the ladies…or Riley the baby? He’s Andy’s age and yet there seems years between them. He seems like one of life’s innocents as far as malice goes, always joking, friendly, outgoing but he gets teased for his ability to mess up his clothes ( the coffee!) and often seems to get the bum jobs dumped on him. I wonder what’s going on behind that make everyone smile image he shows.
Stars: Five, a wonderful gripping sexy continuation of the Walsh family.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers
Cruel Summer, K.R. Conway
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: YA and teens, Sci-fi/Fantasy.
I really enjoyed the first two Undertow books, they’re examples of well written YA that appeals to older readers too. This one follows that format of a book that’s not dumbed down, doesn’t have thin, flimsy plots, but is packed with realistic characters and a story that unfolds to reveal many facets.
Kian – it was clear in the other books that there was some history between him and Ana, but we never quite knew the full story. Here we get to see it all, get a deeper insight into Kian’s thoughts and reasoning. He seems like a cold blooded killer – and to be honest that’s a fairly accurate description of his early years, but even though he needs to kill to survive he’s found a way around that which appeases his conscience. He’s not quite the man his surface image portrays, as Ana soon finds out. Of course she doesn’t know he’s more than just a rich, handsome and alluring tourist, but then she and best friend MJ have some secrets of their own…
I really enjoyed this interlude into Kian’s life and how he meets Ana. The story is told in alternating parts between her and Kian, and that gives us a view directly into their thoughts. Its a fun read, with some dramatics, secrets that get brought out into the open and a devastating ending. Thankfully it comes after the other books, so I know all works out in the end even though its really a prequel. If you enjoyed the first two books you’ll love this, and if the series is new to you then it would be fun to start with this one – though if you like your HEA make sure you’ve got the next two ready so you can read straight on!
Stars: Five, it’s a fun, easy read that deepens our understanding of Kian.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.