Archive | January 2016

Rock N Soul, Lauren Sattersby


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Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I can’t find any other books by Lauren so this looks like it may be a debut book – well, she’s started her writing career with a bang IMO if that’s so – I adored this book.

Tyler, I felt for him. He wanted more out of life but seemed to be stuck, stagnated in his job that pays the bills. That happens to so many people, they’ve ambitions, ideas about the direction they want life to take and then as with Tyler something happens, its all change and there seems no way out. Or maybe its just safer to stay in the comfortable routine…His girlfriend is a real Bi tch to him at times and yet, she’s there and familiar and its all part of the way he’s stagnating. When she’s harassing him to sneak her into Chris room, or at least get her an autograph,and then blaming him for Chris’ death because he wasn’t quicker,  well it just made me want to shout “dump her”.

He gets shaken out of his rut in a huge way by Chris, who appears to him when Tyler has to go to the room Chris died in a couple of weeks later. He finds a ring on the floor in a corner and puts it on – then Chris suddenly appears….nightmare or what! They soon work out that Chris can only appear to Tyler and can’t move more than about 20 ft away from him so they’re kind of stuck together. Chris comes over as a rich, entitled git TBH and of course Tyler dislikes him from the start. Its a challenge then for Lauren to not only sort out the Ghost conundrum, but work up a romance between two people that dislike each other so much. To begin they really do grate on each other, Chris criticises Tyler’s life and job, Tyler reminds him that he’s dead, he isn’t in a place to be making judgements about other peoples lifestyles given how his ended. At first they just want to find a way for Chris to move on so they aren’t stuck with each other any longer. That takes them time to work out – its not something that Google has the answers for after all, so they try many different things until it seems that they’re finally on the right track. By then though they’ve changed so much in how they feel about each other.

Its a great read, full of humour and pathos, one countermanding the other so it never gets too irritating or too schmaltzy. Some of the things they do are very emotional, some of them just made me smile and then others – the scene with Eric, was so, so sad I really felt for them, got the prickling eyes and lump in throat feeling that comes when a scene feels so very real. We see how both of them have things in their pasts that have affected them in the way they act and behave, and that they are more than the surface nerd and jerk faces they present to each other. Its a journey that could be true for so many of us, its easy to judge someone’s lifestyle choices without knowing what’s behind them. The Indians have this saying about Walking a mile in a man’s shoes that I always things is very apt. Try someone’s life for real before you judge them.

Tyler’s cousin Chad – I really grieved for him, doped up by a well meaning mother who just didn’t believe in what he said he saw, Ghosts, so he spent his life in a daze, no job, stuck living with family. I really was pleased at the plans Tyler made for him, he needed that. It made me thin too at how many people are caught in that trap, medicated when really what the need is support of a far different kind. There could be far more in the world than we understand yet. Just because science can’t explain it doesn’t mean it isn’t real – think of electricity, something everyday now but a few hundred years back would have been regarded as impossible.

Stars: Five, a story I really enjoyed


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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Out! (The Shamwell Tales) JL Merrow

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Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

JL Merrow is  prolific author,  and yet despite that somehow this is my first read of one of her novels. That means I’d missed Shamwell one and two but that wasn’t an issue, each book is standalone and really simply connected by the village of Shamwell. I loved this and really want to read books one and two how, catch up on what I’ve missed.

There’s some terrific characters here and they delivered a story that made me smile, made me nod when things crop up in small town life that I’ve encountered, made me sad when things went wrong….For me a book needs people and plots I feel are real, I need to be able to relate to them, to feel I’m there living the story with them, getting upset of smiling when they do.

Mark, the main man so to speak, is one of those poor men who know they are gay and yet because of home and peer pressure pushed it away and tried to be what everyone expects, a happy, conventional, married-to-a-woman man. That doesn’t work – you are who you are, and of course his marriage hit cracks very quickly. His daughter though – a teen now – the lovely, snarky, smart mouthed Fen, is a gem. 14 going on 24 – as all teens seem to be, she makes for some great moments in the book, and felt so real. She was a major figure in what I loved about this story.  Reminded me of myself, my own kids and now my granddaughter who’s 14. Mark and Fen haven’t lived together long, she’d been in trouble so much at school that her mum wanted Mark to take her, change of school and area, fresh start. Its a kind of tenuous beginning but soon Fen’s happily embroiled in village life, and trying to secretly organise her dad’s love life! Mark thinks she doesn’t know he’s gay, he’s really only just admitted it to himself, and hasn’t had much practical experience. His new life is very much geared to keeping his feelings a secret, something his ex is concerned about too. Sad, really sad, but given he’s almost 40 its easy to understand, times now and times back a couple of decades are very different from back then.

Then there’s David, his assistant from his former job, who is a very Out, Loud and Proud gay, and he and Fen hit it off straight away. Despite his almost brash outward appearance he’s very sharp and caring inside, and he lifts parts of the story wonderfully. I love Gregory the teddy bear, and the way he ( David not Gregory!) calls Fen “moppet”. Then there’s Patrick, the guy who really sets Mark’s heart beating…they have a slow start – there’s the age gap, its hard for Patrick to understand why Mark is so guarded about admitting what he is, and so adamant Fen mustn’t know. He’s much younger at 25, and times really have changed since Mark was younger, and Patrick doesn’t really see Mark’s pressures. There are some funny moments when things happen, and it seems as if the world is conspiring against them, but finally they come together…and of course it’s not long after that final working through stumbling blocks to a relationship when it all goes wrong.

There’s some great other characters here, the wonderful boozy Barry and the rest of the Spartans – I love their initiation ritual!  Patrick’s mum, always on the lookout for a new man, Lex…who provides a great side to discrimination issues and shows up the bigotry that can occur in small town life. Its a story I really enjoyed, made me snigger so much, and yet under the humour there’s some sharp observations of rural life, and a tender romance.

Stars: Five, a great read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Touched by a Vampire, Eternally Yours Book One, Sophie Slade


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Genre: Erotica, Sci-fi &Fantasy.

I’m a sucker for vampire stories and liked the sound of this. It tuned out to be just an Ok read for me though….still, its first book in a series which is always a hard task so I’ll try book two to see if things get better for me.

Leila, she’s an A&E doc, and yet seems able to choose her hours, come and go as she pleases without any kind of reprimand or any thought of how that affects her job and the other staff….She’s married but its an odd marriage, where she and husband Steven work opposite hours and don’t see each other for days. Weird ? She doesn’t seem to be concerned even when he’s not home when he should be, and she can only get his answerphone. Then there’s Lance. He’s seen Leila and wants her, and goes all out to impress her. As others have mentioned the constant use of the phrase Renaissance man just didn’t fit and was odd.

There didn’t seem to really be much of a story, just Lance courting in his odd way Leila, and the effects on her life it had. There’s sex, lots and lots of sex, but for me it wasn’t erotic. It needs to be more than constant pages of repetitious words to make a story erotic for me. I need to feel a real connection between the characters, and I hadn’t got it here. It amazes me how it seems every time they have sex its the best orgasm she’s ever had…that seems common to so many romance reads though 😉

It just seemed to be a story that was not really happening – a kind of Vampire Lite read, where the sex really takes the place of the story. Things like Leila’s experiments towards the end; it didn’t seem realistic that she has this idea, spend a day working on it, and then she’d fixed something huge, massive, life-changing, that others had been working on for centuries…It was that kind of reality (or lack of it) that made the book feel flimsy, simplistic, superficial to me. It wasn’t a bad read, but not a good one for me, though the excitement did pick up towards the end and throw in a few surprises. Supernatural people of all types popping up everywhere then!

I’m kind of confused about how to rate this, it had some good ideas but in practice everything was just so simplified, almost dumbed down. I didn’t two star Dislike it but then its hard to say its a three star Good read. I guess I’ll go in the middle at two and a half. I’ll try the next book to see if it picks up as I have it on my kindle, and maybe it’ll pick up the pace and intensity a bit.

Stars: Two and a half


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Angel After Dark, Kahlen Aymes

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Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Well, my biggest disappointment of this book was that is a trilogy…I didn’t realise that, had thought it was one of those where the series consists of connected books, the ones where a couple in the first book become the mainstay of book two and a couple from there make book three but each book is standalone. Luckily books two and three are out, and fortunately not expensive. That’s the upside – I can carry on ( soon as I have time from review reads) with the story while its still fresh. I like to read duos/trilogies back to back, waiting months, years even for some I lose the momentum and there’s never the same impact.

Anyway, moving on, the book: Two terrific characters, both very intelligent, hardworking, Alpha types and neither want emotional attachment for reasons personal to them. When they first set eyes on each other sparks shimmer between them, but circumstances mean they don’t actually get to meet till six months on. By then Angel has some preconceived ideas about Alex, via his “girlfriend” who phones into her show. Even though its clear her story is very one sided Angel still thinks Alex is an arrogant jerk, and TBH he doesn’t do much at first to change that opinion. Somehow, by a bit of bribery by way of donation to her favourite charity, and encouragement on her part from her friend who thinks Alex is drop dead gorgeous and worth a fling with, they have one date, that leads to another and another. Soon they’re steaming up the sheets and there’s some sizzling sexual tension between them.

Its not just a romance though, hot though it is, there’s more going on. Alex is concerned about Angels job, she’s had a couple of incidents in the past where her decisions have been unwelcome by those convicted, and now she’s embroiled in a very nasty case where everyone feels the guy is guilty but he’s clever, knows what to say, how to get round her tests and looks to get away with it. Angel is determined he won’t but then things start getting dangerous, with threats to her and her friends….Alex is scared for her safety, its clear she’s been contacted and threatened, he’s there for some of it, but she can’t discuss it with him, simply reassures him she’ll be fine, can take care of herself. He’s an alpha too though and by now she’s more than just someone he wants to teach a lesson to, he can’t sit back and do nothing while she’s under threat.

I was expecting things to begin to wrap up by 80%, and of course when it didn’t look that way that’s when I began to suspect more books. I feel its quite a sudden, abrupt ending, though there isn’t always a neat stopping point in trilogies. I do think if books are not standalone that needs to be made very, very clear upfront, but as I said at least the next part of this is out…Its got some great side characters too, not just Alex and Angel, and a plot that’s going to be really interesting, but I did feel at times this dragged, felt a bit as though it was filling space more than moving things on. Still, its well worth reading if you want a hot, sensual story with some decent plots behind it, a book that’s more than just a romance.

Stars: Four, excellent start to the trilogy


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Her Secret Lover, Robin Covington

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Genre:   Romance

I’;m writing this review ahead of publication, its actually 24th December and yesterday I wanted something light and easy to read, something I knew I’d enjoy, that would take away a bit of Xmas stress….I’m sure lots know that feeling, not just Xmas but other family holiday times. Anyway, I knew I liked Robin’s writing style so this one came out first choice.

Its a fun read, perfect blend of hot and sensual romance with a hint of vulnerability from both leads. I loved Kelsey, love the way she was devoted to her sick mum and determined to help her dad support her. Getting the promotion to management training would make a huge difference. Then one of the hotels High Roller customers wants a one on one fan day for his wife with author Micah Holmes who’s staying there at a Romance Writers Convention. He hates publicity though, really struggles with that side of fame and has so far always refused to do a one on one day. If Kelsey can somehow swing it her promotion would be guaranteed, conversely its indicated that if she doesn’t get it fixed it won’t go well for her. They’re not a couple used to being turned down. They added yet another edge to the novel, I really enjoyed them as part of the story. Reminded me of some people I’ve met in the past!

Micah is lovely, a really genuine man, though jaded from his past experience with romance. Despite writing about True Love and making millions from it he doesn’t believe that for him at least it exists. Then he meets Kelsey, his assigned concierge for the duration of his stay – wow – what a great introduction they had. What an icebreaker – it made me snigger… a lot! The attraction on both sides is instant but they hide it, Kelsey because it’d mean she loses her job and she’s had bad past experiences, and Micah – well, he’s kind of gobsmacked and confused. He doesn’t usually get that kind of reaction to meeting someone.
Eventually of course they both admit their feelings, and they manage to covertly have some very sensual and erotic encounters, though they’ve both agreed its a short term just till Sunday fling, but both are feeling more than just attraction. Kelsey still has the fan day experience to arrange though, it never seems the right time to ask, and the closer they get the more she can’t bring herself to do it – but she really needs that promotion. It doesn’t help that the lady making the request is ….well, you’ll have to read but I loved it, and it added an edge to what seems like a simple request.
Of course secrets always come out at the wrong time, and what her friends had warned her about happens, and that leads to some intense drama and disaster for Kelsey. I love drama that plays out over time, that hits just at the right moment, right at the peak of attraction and developing feelings, and this was timed perfectly. I was waiting all the way through, thinking “ is this going to be where it gets out?” at several opportunities, but Robin keeps the reader waiting till the perfect time. I was so upset for both of them, what they had was special, more than just the attraction of lust.

Stars: Five,it’s a fun read, with some heat and drama in it. Its got a perfect ending too – fits really well with what had previously been discussed. I’m not sure I’d reread it but as a one off it was perfect for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Holding out for a Hero,  Victoria Van Tiem


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Genre:  Romance, women’s fiction

I loved Victoria’s last book Love like the Movies, and was hoping I’d feel the same about this one. It wasn’t to be though 😦 It’s still a great read but darker in feel, a more serious story though there are moments of humour sprinkled throughout it just didn’t feel quite right to me.

Libby, she was stuck in the 80’s – I know how that feels, sometimes I feel I’m stuck in the 70’s, patchouli oil, incense stick, Loons, Indian prints – floaty skirts and tiny mirrors decorating them….I just had issues actually Liking Libby though. She had some great friends who went all out to help her even if some of it was OTT, they were always there for her, supporting her, listening to her, but she seems to take it all for granted and is almost rude at times. I can’t think of any times she did things for them and it seemed very much one way giving.  Its not til Finn points out after one of the disaster dates that she’s not trying, not making an effort to see the good in people but just focussing on the negatives, that she sees it herself. She does make an effort after that and I began to warm to her, and as more comes out and I understand her I did feel for her. There’s clearly something that’s happened to make her that way, and some tantalising hints get thrown out as the story goes on, and being inescapably curious I really wanted to know the answers…..I loved her friends, even though they were a bit strange a times, they meant well, and really tried so hard for her. It’s clear they’d been round for years and knew about everything, and I kept feeling that if they liked Libby I must be misjudging her and she must have good points I just didn’t see..

When the Big Reveal does come – and its not all at once, the hints get stronger until…and then it was really very emotional reading, gave me the sniffles, and looking back over what I’d read I could see how it all fit together. The ending after that seems a little rushed though, and I really expected one person to play a larger role given the ending.

The first third I struggled with and almost gave up, mostly because I found Libby so whiny and critical of everything. I know depression has all kinds of effects on people, and it was clear she had some major issues and that part was very real, but I found her really difficult to like even given that. It was well worth sticking with because the last third is five star all the way, even given the slightly quick finish.


Stars: Three and a half, a mixed bag for me, bits I struggled to get through and then some wonderful parts that had me on the edge of tears.


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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Redemption,  Kate Douglas

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Genre:   Romance

I enjoyed the first novel in this series but with a couple of reservations about communication between the leads, Kaz and Jake. Then getting into this book, Jake’s brother Ben is thinking about the mistakes Jake and Kaz made in not being open with each other, not telling each other what they were concerned about, and how it led to danger for them. So I guess my reservations were unfounded, and it was part of the set up for this story 🙂 Sorry Kate, I understand now.

We met Ben at the end of the last book, and he’s such a haunted character. Been running from himself and what he did for the last twenty years, from his guilt at letting Jake down, from his horror at being responsible for the deaths of a mother and son. He joined the Army as soon as the police let him go, before the trial, assuming that because of his age Jake would get off he’s horrified to hear what happened, to find out how Jake was abandoned by his parents. Luckily he’s has one stalwart supporter though it all, their childhood friend Marcus ( and I’m hoping he and Mandy are the subjects of book three!)

Ben  wants to get to know Jake, is back in the US to finish his service with only a few months left, and gets taken in by the girls, Kaz, Lola and her sister Mandy. They are so warm and openhearted, didn’t have the greatest family lives themselves and have created their own little trio, which recently has widened to include Jake and Marcus and now Ben, and brings in others when they feel they need the support. They just seem to welcome everyone with open arms ( and platefuls of much appreciated home cooking) and its really lovely to read. I’d love friends like that, to be like that.

As soon as Ben sees Lola something stirs for both of them, an attraction that just can’t be ignored and its not long before they’re headlong in a sexy, sensual, steamy romance. Neither has ever felt like this before, but go along with it, trusting in their feelings. There’s some very erotic and heated encounters, much as there was between Kaz and Jake….well written scenes, not the over done, dull, repetitive ones I’ve complained about in other novels recently. It takes more than endless pages of dirty phrases and sex at every possible moment to make a good and sensual book. Sadly I’ve had a clutch of the other sort over the last couple of weeks, not all review books thankfully, some free, some KU so I’ve been able to just delete them. Its great then to get back to an author who knows that it takes more to write a good sex scene, and works to keep the balance of sex and story correct.

Ben’s been serving in some tough areas, and doesn’t realise it but the danger didn’t stay abroad, but has followed him back bringing the girls, Marc and Jake into danger too. It’s well written and kept me guessing who and what was behind it, didn’t get it right but that’s part of the fun, seeing how things tie up together, what I missed in trying to work it out. Of course bringing danger to them all gives Ben even more guilt but Lola, clever and sound thinking Lola, persuades him its not his fault, that its the perpetrators who are to blame. He needs that reassurance, he’s found something to live for in her and Jake, but at times over the past years the guilt has been such that he courted the danger, uncaring of if he died…suicidal thoughts have plagued him too. Lola wants to keep him away from that mind-set.

The story and dangers gather speed, bringing in more people, local cops, FBI, those behind the danger, and ends in another climatic but realistic finale. A great read and well worth the five for me.

Stars: Five, can be read as a standalone but would be better to read the first book to get the full story.


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Ariel, Nano Wolves 1, Donna McDonald


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Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I love fantasy romances especially those with shifters, and having read the amazon sample I was looking forward to this. A lead character that a scientist, and the nano technology side looked to provide some interesting reading.

That sample though was the best of the book for me. For a scientist Ariel didn’t really act that way, and she and the girls were very accepting of the new life they’d been plunged into. I didn’t really like any of them that much, they seemed quite cold characters. There’s a lot of sex here too – and I love sex in a story, but at times here the sex IS the story and that’s not good for me. I need a solid tale backing the sex side up.  I also felt really uncomfortable about Reed. Ancient, hundreds of years old werewolf, Native Indian, waist length dark hair, can mind speak to Ariel, and the biggie – because of his heritage can change to and from wolf keeping his clothes….familiar to any readers of Patricia Briggs novels. I know there’s crossovers and influences, conscious and unconscious in novels, but this was a step just too far for me.

I expected the nanos to provide something new, to give a different angle rather than just seem to be the answer to all issues. Its a bit like how I hate when characters get some magical new power, previously unheard of, right at the point they need it. The nanos seemed the answer to every problem the girls had ( For instance how Ariel as a very, very new wolf can so effortlessly beat much older, supposedly stronger ones).  I guess I just need characters to struggle a bit. Here it felt like everything came fairly easily to the group, and they were just so accepting of everything about this new world. I thought they – especially Ariel – would have questions and more curiosity but…

If it wasn’t for the sex I’d think this was a teen and YA read, and that’s not a criticism of YA stories, I’ve read some great ones. The story and plots are written in the way many YA reads are, but then most YA reads don’t have endless sex in. The writing has that same kind of straightforward flow, simplistic style and language, with the plots being a bit obvious in what’s going to happen. I just expected a bit more mystery, issues, questions, and dramas. Its got lovers of course ( of the book, not just in the book!) and it shows what I’ve often said, how we all enjoy different types of story. Its just not one for me despite that initial promise.

Stars: two and a half, a great premise but the story didn’t live up to it for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Mother Road, Meghan Quinn



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Genre:  New Adult,  Romance

This is a really hard to rate book. At times I was sniggering like a schoolgirl with tears running down my face, and yet sometimes the humour was just too OTT even for me, and just felt forced. It was as if the author had to milk every possible permutation out of the joke, drain every last drop of humour, and sometimes less is more as my nan used to say. I got tired of the endless childish behaviour between Marley and Paul. They acted like toddlers, not people in their twenties, whilst their dad and friend Porter just looked on adoringly. Nope, that just irritated me.

Paul was a huge drama queen, that bit at the end at the wedding rehearsal over the stained tablecloth was just too far for me. It was just so unreal, and no adult, even Paul, would do and say what he did.. I kept thinking I hope Savannah knows what she’s getting into – he must be amazing in bed because he’d drive any sane woman nuts.

His regurgitation of facts appealed, I’ve a mind like that and his whale stats – I’m embarrassed to say I knew many of them *blush*. The whole idea of the road trip in memory of their mother was fabulous and very moving and touching, and dad Bernie(The Bern) was great. He and his presidential swearing, odd comments and phrases made me laugh out loud. In fact so much of the book had me shaking with laughter, tears down my face that I couldn’t read this in bed as usual as Him Indoors would have been saying “ what…what…are you ok?” Porter was cute, I felt I understood him and was so admiring of what he’d done with Bernie’s help so that he could move forward, hopefully with Marley. Marley, I loved the way she’d worked so hard to make her dreams come true. The way Porter was still in her heart despite what happened, the way she loved her family. I din’t like her friend Marisa (? think thats her name) but the yoga class made me laugh. Years ago I went to one with someone I’d just met, not realising it was all “your mat is your island” serious. When someone let a noisy bit of flatulence ( amazon won’t let me say the slang!) no-one laughed, not a snigger, not a wobble, not a smile, whilst I was finding it hard to carry on with a straight face. It happens, and usually we laugh it off but that class was Too Serious for any humour. I decided it wasn’t one for me…..

The romance side was sweet, but really took a backseat to the humour, and I’d have liked that to be a bit stronger and the toilet humour to be toned down in some parts. ( See above with the table cloth) At times is was cringingly awful when pulled out into potty type phrasing, let alone the physical fights. Never the less I have to give this five stars, it really is the funniest book I can recall reading for a very long while. Its not one I’d reread but if you’re feeling down and are prepared to skim when the humour goes too far and feels forced, then do pick this up. You won’t be down for long 🙂

Stars: Five, skim the cringing bits and just let the rest convulse you with laughter


ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife,  Elizabeth LaBan 



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Genre:  women’s Fiction

There were parts of this book I loved – and parts that really got on my nerves, so much so that if Sam and Lila were in front of me I would have wanted to shout at them, smack them, tell them to grow up.

So, they fell in love, along came Hazel, and then its all change. Sam gets the job of his dreams while Lila has recently given hers up for motherhood. They move to a new city, and that’s hard with a toddler, and then Lila’s pregnant again so its all change in the Soto household. All that change is tough, and along the way the Lila and Sam that met and fell in love we in danger of getting lost. Lila has become whiny, though in a way I understood, she’s gone from being in a crisis driven job where she was well respected and always saving the day, praise all round, to motherhood in a new town where she knows no-one. ( No one praises you for being able to feed a screaming, teething baby, entertain a toddler, get the house clean and make the family dinner. And know instantly where there’s a clean shirt and spare socks!)

Sam’s being a jerk, obsessed with his new job and insisting really she can’t make friends because he’s put so many vetoes on her. Well, when you first chat to someone new how do you say “do you or your family or friends own of work in a restaurant?” You can’t can you, so how is she supposed to meet them. He’s put a ban on the new neighbours too, so she’s isolated and becomes almost introspective. Her daily life is full of banality and tedium so she snaps up the slightest chance for anything new, and of course then things turn out wrong.

Sam is obsessive about his secrecy, and I understand a bit – if people knew who he was it would affect his work. Perception is all, it doesn’t matter if he says he’s unbiased, even if he and his wife are good friends with the owners, even if his daughter is a playmate of the head waiters family or something…( I’m using hypotheticals here not experiences from the book BTW) There’ll always be those convinced he’s writing a good/bad review for other reasons than honesty and integrity. ( A bit like book/product reviewers eh? I’ve been accused a few times of bias as I get ARC’s and products for free. ) He just needs to suck it up a bit more though, as there will Always be those who won’t believe he can’t review with integrity ( as I’m learning). He doesn’t though and his disguises, funny at first, get more and more odd. For someone who doesn’t want to draw attention to himself surely they would make it worse? ( kitchen staff convo : have you seen that guy on table seven, with the fake moustache and the weird glasses? – Ah that’s Sam Soto in another one of his disguises!!)

In among that though is a real story about coping with change, about how easy it is to grow apart, how hard families really need to work to stay together. There’s historical family issues on both sides too affecting their actions. Then there’s the neighbours and friends, and we see towards the end that the face they present to the world isn’t really the one that’s true, they we are more than just one facet. That human nature part made interesting reading for me. I enjoyed seeing how slowly they were falling apart yet able finally to talk, to work together instead of pulling in opposite directions. I remember how isolating life can be with babies and small children, how some days seem to revolve around their needs and wants, and as a mum you’re desperate for another adult to talk to. When the only one is your husband and he’s either working, planning work, writing reviews and insisting you keep anonymous that’s a recipe for disaster.

There were some interesting sides too – I loved the food and restaurant descriptions, their experience at  Kite, ( I think that was it – the one with all the ice) where Lila thinks they’ve been made but says nothing as she’s starving, and doesn’t want the two hour wait they’re first told they face. Sam’s reviews heading each chapter. The Fairy tea party – I want one, and a jar of fairy dust!!

So overall its a mix, bits I loved, bits I found drawn out and overdone, and then the look at real life and real people, motives, and endings. It must be tough thinking people want to be friend’s with you just because you can help make or break their business. Much the same as books  people want different things from restaurants. One of our local favourites is a Greek one where the table is your for the night, and there’s entertainment by the family after they’ve finished serving. A meal can be easily drawn out to a couple of hours and yet we’ve been with friends who want one course straight after another, no pause for a break, and to be out after an hour or so…they hated it.

Stars: Four. A fun read, even if I did want to slap them both at times…


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