Archive | February 2021

Witherward, Hannah Mathewson

Witherward, Hannah Mathewson

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

What a fantastic read this was. Its very unusual, and at times I was confused about the different factions and how they interacted. I think with any fantasy though that devolves from the norm that happens, and I’m happy to go along with it to read something new, something challenging.
I loved this read, I just wish parts two and three were out now!

Ilsa is a perfect lead, and at times when her age, and that of some of the other leads, was mentioned I found it hard to believe they were teens. They’ve had to grow up very quickly, even though they’ve grown up in different worlds. Ilsa felt so very real, she’s struggled to get by, using her wits, all her life, so although she’s out of her depth in some ways in this new world, her skills she’s honed over the years mean she is well placed to assess what needs doing, what is happening. For other things she’s on a fast track tuition process, learning the skills that the others have has years to acquire.

I really enjoyed the story, there’s lots of minor plots besides the main one, and they all gel over the course of the novel. It was fascinating reading about the different sorts of magics, the benefits and limitations, and the history of the Witherward. I did have characters I liked more than others of course, but there were surprises in store for me, and I love that. When things happen that I didn’t anticipate, it makes the story so much more compelling. Some of the events are hard to read, its a hard, harsh world, and death is never far away for anyone.

Goodreads describe it as YA, don’t let that put you off. The main characters are young, but the story is certainly not any kind of simplistic one, in fact I found myself doubling back a few times checking people, places and acts. I’d highly recommend this to fantasy lovers. Roll on the next book. I know once I have all three books its going to be one I read back to back in a total Witherward immersion!

Stars: Five. Fantastic new, unusual, gripping, compelling, fantasy adventure.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Echoes of Germania, H. B. Ashman

Echoes of Germania, H. B. Ashman

Echoes of Germania: A Historical Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel (Tales of Ancient Worlds Book 1) by [H. B.  Ashman]

Genre: Historical Fiction, Sci Fi & Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult)

Its always a gamble getting a book from a debut author, there’s no past stories to give you a flavour of the writing style, so I went in to this somewhat dubiously. In fact I didn’t start it til about three weeks after receiving it, not convinced from the blurb I was going to love it, and yet intrigued enough to request. And then….once I delved in I was gripped. What a fantastic read.
I really, really hope that H.B. sticks to the planned timetable of books two and three being out later this year. That would be fantastic!
From the authors website: Echoes of Germania I (2020), Songs of Rome II (2021), Drums of War III (2021)

I really liked Amalia, and as the story unfolded the relevance of her judo skills and engineering background became obvious, and were very important to the story and her place in it. I love that she’s young, around 19 I think from memory, but strong in mind as well as body. She needs that when she finds herself not in some cosplay scene, but 2000 years into the past.
At first there did seem to be battle after battle, but once Amalia was drawn in as more than a captive, once she began to make her place I was totally fixed on her, and what could/would happen.
I loved the other characters too Arminius, who couldn’t love him, Germanicus and of course Marius. I love when we have some not so nice characters too and of course here with Roman power plays they abound. Livia, Julia, Lucius, Gnaeus, all were deliciously manipulative.
I enjoyed reading the day to day stuff, and learned a lot as I was reading. Few books I’ve read cover this period and my knowledge of Rome, Romans and the soldiers are really limited to films my late husband was addicted to. Spartacus, 300 Spartans, Gladiator, Troy, The Robe ( seems that one was out every Easter…) I’m not a film watcher, preferring my books, but you kind of absorb elements when they’re constantly in front of you.
There are useful additions about the Roman structures at the front of the book, and a glossary of main characters at the end and I found both of those very helpful.

Its an interesting story, bringing in the harshness of life, the strangeness of living in the past for Amalia. And of course the mystery of Seers, the white owl, superstitions and whether Amalia being there is just bad luck, predestined, or part of a plan formed by the Seer when past events occurred.

Its a great story, easy to read and yet complex enough to entertain and keep me reading. Some books are so light I end up flipping through, bored with the story. There’s a romance here too, and I do love those, but its only a small part of the story, though becomes a strong core to later events.

Stars: Five, a gripping read, one that kept me reading “just that bit more” and up far too late into the early hours! I’m really eager for the next two parts, and know this will join my back to back reading fest favourites. I love to totally immerse myself in another world, reading stories like this right through when all parts are out.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Ghost of an Enchantment, Wickwood Chronicles Book 2, J. E. McDonald

Ghost of an Enchantment, Wickwood Chronicles Book 2, J. E. McDonald

Ghost of an Enchantment: A Paranormal Romantic Comedy (Wickwood Chronicles Book 2) by [J. E.  McDonald]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Mystery and Thrillers, Romance

Edit: 15/02/21. I’ve just noticed that this is now classed as paranormal, romantic, comedy on amazon. That makes the criticisms I have a little outdated, though still valid I feel. At least readers know more what to expect. The genre headings I’ve used were what was with the book info when I requested it.

This was a fun read but for me a light one. It lacked the depth to really keep me engrossed.
I did like the characters, and the attraction between Lucas and Stella, but felt he was very ready to accept the explainable.
“She’s a witch, OK, my friend is a paranormal investigator even though I don’t really know what he does. The books are floating? Oh well…There’s weird burn marks on the floor and ceiling? Oh, I wonder what did that? Still, they want us to leave so I can’t ask more questions.
Even seeing it for himself I thought he’d be more shocked, more full of questions and doubts.

Its one of those reads that has so much packed, in but each bit felt almost superficial. The portal, the connections between the families from the past, the creatures that appeared, the police and their actions and comments, Stella’s gran and her issues, and then neighbour’s reaction to floating books. That last bit felt it was added for humour when the story didn’t need it, and for a serious book just felt wrong, though works in a comedy. I felt its a story that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Is it a romance? A mystery, a book with humour and fun? A serious Sci-fi? Stories can be more than one but this has bits of all in, that would work in a series or trilogy, but for me in just one book it was a muddle and detracted from the story.
I just got the sense it was a story full of events, characters and creatures, connections from past to present and maybe just a little too much packed in a shortish read.
For me I’d rather less events and more detail. As ever though, we’re all different and this is perfect as it is for others. Horses for courses…

Stars: Three, a lightweight mystery, a little too packed with different things for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

David Bowie, Robert Dimery

David Bowie, Robert Dimery

Genre: Biography & memoirs. Non-fiction

I’m a child of the seventies, had the Bowie posters on my wall back in 72, much to dad’s horror. He never did approve of my musical tastes, Bowie, Queen, Slade ( mum gave them a pass as she liked Noddy, til she read about him bragging how many women he’d had sex with!)Alice cooper, T Rex, Mott the Hoople….many of them get mentions here and I enjoyed that.

I’m the typical average Bowie fan of the seventies, bought the records, followed the career, copied the man. I wanted to learn more about Bowie the person, how he began, how the music started, what inspired certain songs, his musical influences and connections, and the beginning felt like that.
Then it moved into areas that seemed to leave much of Bowie behind in favour of mentions of others and analysis of his music. His son barely gets a passing mention it felt, and yet he must have had a huge impact in his life. Looking after a child is huge, you can’t just flit off and leave them home alone for a coupe of weeks….How did he manage, was his son brought with him, left with others, did Angie look after him? Though given her issues that’s unlikely, but that’s the kind of thing I was curious about. The practicalities. How did he afford to continue, where did the money come from? Record companies I assume, but what were the strings?
I loved little snippets like him giving Mott the Hoople All The Young Dudes, and the interactions with Marc Bolan that the first part held and was sure this was going to be a book I’d love. If that kind of detail had continued, I would have loved it.
Later though I felt it became very in depth, too in depth on the wrong ( for me ) focus, citing people, people and yet more people, giving far more opinions about the music than the facts and snippets around its inception I would have loved, and I was lost. I didn’t know these specific people from the music world. I know nothing of labels, producers, directors, stylists, and all the back staff, I barely know what they do, have no idea who they are. They meant nothing to me other than how they affect Bowie. I had to keep tracking back working out where and why and how and I didn’t enjoy that.

I didn’t feel the book focused enough on Bowie himself and the reasons for the music, but more on how his rise grew through others, bringing those others into the book more than I wanted. I didn’t know them, wasn’t invested in their stories. That’s me though, and others will find just what they want from this.

Stars: Three. Bowie was a musical genius, and I don’t feel this book does him justice. Its got some interest to it, but overall he didn’t feel the focus to me, his life and influences was what I wanted, not the myriad of ancillary label people.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Mask of Mirrors, Rook and Rose Book One, M. A. Carrick

The Mask of Mirrors, Rook and Rose Book One, M. A. Carrick

The Mask of Mirrors: Rook and Rose, Book One by [M. A. Carrick]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy

Having been caught before by trilogies that I loved – and series – which never got any further I contacted the authors to see if there were plans for the next two books. Hurrah, there are. Book two, The Liar’s Knot, is out later this year in November, with book three scheduled for November 2022. Given how complex and detailed this story is that’s good going 😉 It must be a nightmare to write, having to constantly check things, unless the authors have become fully immersed in the world they’d created.

I loved this story but…I almost gave up, its so incredibly detailed it took me well into the book before I began to get a sense of this world and its characters. I think I didn’t really feel familiar with the place and characters until about the halfway mark. I’m so glad I stuck with it. The end section with the explanations of who and how people fit together, and some of the terms used was incredibly helpful, I found myself referring to that many, many times! Read it before you start, and then keep checking back, it really helps.
If you’re struggling with the beginning as I did, stick with it, it really is worth it. I already know this is going to be one of my re-reader series, where I indulge in a few days back to back reading of all the novels.

Its really hard to write a review. Its a new world, with, pretty much like here, two main classes, the rich and the not rich….but within that there are different heritages, religions, and those groups are further divided with the ruling classes having a complicated and rigid structure in place and the underclass being divided further into different groups and knots.
For the ruling classes life is about appearance, never showing your hand, never showing or admitting to feelings, and under that there are the deals, the money making, the backbiting, cheating, manoeuvering, but all done with smiles and unseen.

Then of course there’s the actual story, with Ren and Tess being in for a long con, persuading House Traementis that she’s a lost relative, with Grey Serrado of the Vigils, wanting to find out who killed his brother, and who is stealing children from the streets, Derossi Vargo, well, with Vargo who knows what he wants, he’s like spider with bits of web touching everything.
Its seems everyone is hiding something, planning something or doing something they shouldn’t. Ren gets deeper and deeper, constantly involved in deals for different people, all the while pushing her claim forward, but along the way finding there’s much more to this society than she imagined, and finding she hasn’t left her past as far behind as she thought.
I wasn’t sure about Ren at first, but her loyalty to Tess and the things she’s been through make her what she is, and I grew to really hope for her. I loved Tess, clever Tess with her nimble fingers and ways of chatting to staff and finding out what she and Ren needed to know. They work together so well.
Donaia Traementis I really felt for, trying to keep the house together, keep up appearances despite lacking finances. Leatro, her son, I loved him. He’s on the surface all light and fluff but there’s a lot more to him. Then Giuna, his sister. We didn’t really seem to get to know her well, both her mother and her brother seem to keep her incredibly sheltered and I’m not really sure why.
Grey Serrado, one of the Vigil, a kind of police force, though mainly a corrupt force, was an anomaly there. He’s there to do right, to protect people and I wondered why he joined, knowing its full of corruption.
Derossi Vargo – who couldn’t be intrigued by him. And Peabody! He’s from the streets, has a fearsome reputation and yet he can be smooth and cultured when it suits. He’s got a fount of secrets, one of them huge and I really want to know how that came about. Sedge, one of his henchmen was a great character too, we soon find out he’s got more connections than he knew.

I did find some of Ren’s/Renata’s deals went a little too easily, given that the others had been struggling to get things done, but there’s so much else going on that it didn’t really bother me, it was needed to push events forward. At times I just continued reading even when a bit lost, til I found my ground again, the story is so complex that if I tried to reason every event I’d never get through it 😉 The dreamworld events, night of hells, was one of those. Its all made sense later.
I’d got a good idea of who The Rook was and was pleased I was right – that doesn’t happen often, and tbh I just got lucky!
The practice of Pattern and Numinatra was fascinating, I’d love to know more of that.
I loved the ending, wrapping up parts neatly and yet opening up a whole deal more. Yay.
I guess its time to stop. Hopefully I’ve not given anything away, its a really fascinating read, despite my first fears. Stick with it, if you love complex fantasy this is a perfect trilogy.

Stars: Five. Fantastic, complicated story. I really enjoyed it and know its going to be a long time favourite trilogy.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Business and the Beat, Kellum Jeffries

Business and the Beat, Kellum Jeffries

Business and the Beat by [Kellum Jeffries]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I hadn’t realised this was a novella, usually I avoid them, preferring long reads. Sucked in by the rock band romance tag, my sneaky weakness, I didn’t look further. Thank goodness, as it proved a great read. And one I will reread.
This may be short but its intense, packed with the drama and emotion I love. There’s no filler, no bits that lag, every page adds to the story and that was perfect. I could swap some longer reads for that! Those with pages of stuff that feels added just to provide words. This one was all story.

Ford, what a wonderful guy. He’s kind, but very introverted, with the most horrible, overbearing, old fashioned parents. You can see just why he is the way is is, bullied out of all his own opinions. His drawing talents was incredible, I really enjoyed reading about his creations. Thank goodness for his boss and work colleague who see behind stuffy Rutherford and are determined to bring out the man they know he is.
Then Mak, that first meeting – just wonderful. It shows him just how he is, light, full of fun, loves his family, the band. Then we see he too had a sad history, one that’s made him devote his love to his band, and relegate romance to be kept to short spans and move on periods.

When Mak meets Ford this is made clear, but as the expiry date grows closer neither are feeling like the end is right, but of course…..and that leads to some fantastic drama, stuff that was drawn out beautifully, really let emotions reign. Not just over in two pages even though the novel was brief.
Peach, Peach, I thought that was going to be something I wouldn’t like but….Kellum handles it perfectly, it shows just how Mak really feels, makes him start looking closer at himself. Peach himself, I’d love to read a book about him when he’s a bit older. He feels a real character, one worth exploring.

Stars: Five. Fantastic read, brief but with everything I want in a good romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Man I Didn’t Marry, Anna Bell

The Man I Didn’t Marry, Anna Bell

The Man I Didn’t Marry: the new emotional and hilarious romantic comedy you need to read in 2021! by [Anna Bell]

Genre: romance, women’s fiction

And yep, that outdated category once more. Its 2020, not 1820! men write romance, men read romance…..

So, everything is wonderful in Ellie’s world, she had a perfect husband, man of her dreams, her best friends brother who she had a crush on for so many years. She never expected that he’d fall in love with her. She felt, still feels, that he’s far above her, that she’s nothing like the leggy beauties he used to date.
They have a beautiful daughter and she’s now pregnant with their second child. And then one Saturday morning when he’s gone in to work, she gets a call from her mother in law. Max has returned there and is acting very strangely.
He’s somehow lost the last five years of his life, has no memory of Ellie other than his sisters friend, and doesn’t realise he’s a father. Has forgotten his sister is gay, that his parents are separated. What a nightmare.
Of course the questions are numerous but the main ones, why did it happen, and when will he recover, have no answer. Its could be hours, days, years in rare cases. Poor Ellie is devastated.

Ellie has joined a group of other pregnant mums. Over the next few weeks they are a great support to her, though at first I really wasn’t sure about some of them, especially the well meaning but steamroller approach to everything lady, Annabel (I think that was her name..) Her best friend too, Max sister, the one he has forgotten is gay, reconnects properly with Ellie and really helps her. As is often the way, although they were still friends, they’d lost that closeness and through these events they found it again.

Max is a real jerk at first, back to his wandering eye, man whore ways, even when Ellie is trying to recreate their dates to jog his memory, and I so felt for her. Who wants your Adonis husband flirting constantly when out, especially when being heavily pregnant makes you feel not the most attractive. My heart broke for her at that point, so hard to take, it really brought home just what she was going through.
Fortunately that stage doesn’t last long, he’s still in a bit of denial there and confused, which is understandable, but as he comes to accept what everyone is telling him he changes his behaviour, tries really hard to be the man he should be, husband and father, even though its difficult when he has no memory of that man. He slowly gets closer to Ellie, comes to see her in a different light to his sisters friend, appreciates her for the woman she is now, and the attraction between them pulls at him and makes him work harder at being her husband. He realises what he’s in danger of losing if he doesn’t and though at first husband and father isn’t what he wanted to be, it scared him, slowly he realises that its exactly what he wants, where he should be at this part of his life. Ellie discovers to her surprise that he’s now not her Max, but actually a more considerate Max, active in helping her as a father, in appreciating her as his wife, showing his feelings.

Then just when things are going really well, when they’ve finally reconnected in a big way there are some major issues. His parents have hidden their separation from him, and when he finds out that – well, a very funny section there but he’s angry, angry that those he trusts now his memory is gone have been lying to him. Poor Ellie, she gets caught up even though she was against keeping it secret, but she didn’t feel it was her place to reveal it. And then on top of that another massive secret comes out. Ellie is devastated, and I can understand that. Can they find a way past it?

The things that have happened make Ellie look at her perfect marriage, and as with the new, improved Max she finds that actually there were things that weren’t right, that she wasn’t giving her all to marriage either. Pulled into motherhood it’s easy to let other things slide, no-one ever expects how all-consuming new babies can be.
Although what happened was an awful thing, getting through it gave Ellie an inner strength and allowed her to see herself as others did, that actually she was a beautiful, confident, intelligent lady, and well up to being wife of Max the Adonis. Not the lower standard, lucky lady that he chose her image she had of herself. I was really pleased about that.
Max too has learned from the experience, learned whats really important to him, learned that he shouldn’t take things for granted, that marriage and family need input, effort to get the best out of them.

I really wondered if Ellie could get past this last big secret, its a huge problem, and I understood exactly how it played on her fears, how she’s always felt. Yet I could see how much Max loved her, how she was his life, and I was desperate for them to find a way through.

Stars: Five. Its a great read, a mix of humour and poignancy, romance and practicality. I loved it.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Friends With Benefits, An absolutely uplifting, feel-good romcom, Lisa Swift

Friends With Benefits, An absolutely uplifting, feel-good romcom, Lisa Swift

Friends With Benefits: An absolutely uplifting, feel-good romcom by [Lisa Swift]

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction.

Two gripes to get off my chest before I start.
One, the usual. Women’s Fiction – just why? Men read romance, men write romance, its 2021 not 1821!
Second thing, I hate when a book tells me how it will make me feel. This isn’t as bad as the “ you will find this hilarious/ side splittingly funny” type title additions, but tbh titles should be just that. Nothing more, apart from a series number of trilogy installment so the reader knows more about where the book fits.

So, the book. I’ve enjoyed several of Lisa’s stories, they’ve not yet been five star reads but a solid four, feeling very real. This book is just like that.
The characters and situations feel real, and the plots are ones I could see playing out in many family lives. I loved Lexie, Theo and Connor. And Tonya, the step mum in law kind of connection – she was wonderful, I want to be her.

As usual the romance takes times to progress, then hits some hiccups, but this book covers more than just the Lexi/Theo romance, and delves into Connor, his life and loves. That part was really well done, he’s an incredibly mature young man, and my heart broke for him at times. Its tough being a teen, without having had your mum die when you were a kid, your dad skip off to work abroad, but thankfully Lexie has been “mum” to him for so long that he’s happy to rely on her, and he can talk to “uncle” Theo for the male side of things.
He’s angry with his dad, and I could understand that. Darryl really was a first class jerk. And then Lisa expands on the past and has me, despite myself , feeling sad for Darryl. I still didn’t like him but I did understand him more.
Lexie is devoted to Connor, won’t date because she doesn’t want to bring strangers into his life. Plus she knows it will make Darryl even more difficult to deal with. I loved her, she treats and sees Connor as her child, and why not? She’s been mum to him for a long time. Connor adores her too, though of course it doesn’t stop the usual teen issues…
Theo was Darryl’s best friend since they were kids, but he really made things difficult for him when he closed down the business they shared without warning, skipped off with the money he had and left Theo in the lurch. He doesn’t take that out on Lexie and Connor though, stays their support and in their lives. Even more now he and Lexie share the cafe.

Its a fun read, delving into what makes people the way they are. First off Darryl seemed a jerk, Theo the consummate playboy, love ’em and leave ’em type, but when we learn more about them its easier to understand why they are that way. There’s some sizzling sex, lots of humour but married with some darker emotions too. Overall its one I really enjoyed, but I’m not sure I’d reread.

Stars: Four. Fun read, with some real depth to it.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Net for Small Fishes, Lucy Jago

A Net for Small Fishes, Lucy Jago

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

This book is based on a well known scandal – well known to many but nit to me, so I came in cold, not knowing the characters or events. I loved this read, took me back in time, I felt I was there with the people, and it conveyed the struggled females had so well. When I’m reading a historical novel I want to feel its real, for it to stay true to the time, and this one was perfect. Clearly very well researched, not just in the events but in the ways of how people lived in that time.

I didn’t particularly like either of the female leads and yet – they did what they needed to do, according to the times they lived in. Life was hard for many, for those without money there was no support, nothing to stop them and their families starving.
For those with money power reigned, until someone more wealthy or with closer ties to the Throne came along. Those on and close to the Throne, and so many others claiming wealth actually lived in a morass of debt, spending money they had no intention of paying, always knowing that because of their position those they owed either couldn’t or wouldn’t press for payment. It was almost a way of life, even the King lived life like that.

Anne appeared to want advancement for security for her children. Who can say that’s wrong? Even if the way she went about it didn’t really feel right. I felt that she was almost in a trap of having taken one step, she was forced into the next, there being no way to go backwards, or even stay static.
Not only did she have to worry about money and position but there was the issue of being female. Thinking of the time was that females were born sinful and have to live perfect lives to redeem that sin. Any excuse to blame them for anything is taken, and here poor Anne gets the full gamut of sin thrown at her, blamed for the most ridiculous of things.
Frances, very beautiful, born to a wealthy and powerful family, but as was the way, females were pawns in life, used by their families for advancement. She was married at a young age to the most horrific of men. Abused horribly yet still determined to have a family she and Anne, who has become a good friend by now, seek some dubious methods to make it work. Of course it doesn’t, and it leads them down some paths that cause issues later.
Truth wasn’t really a factor when being judged, and Anne was made a scapegoat for the sins of others IMO. She did do things that weren’t right, but times were different, and she was probably scared of what would happen t her family.
Frances, when it became clear she wasn’t going to have a marriage and children, fell in love with someone who was dangerous for her and Anne, a man reputed to be the kings, lover, but who had many dangerous, powerful enemies. I kept thinking about them both, what would I do in that position. The answer: I don’t know, who could, it was a very different time.

Stars: Five, a gem of a novel, perfectly capturing the flavour of the time and the difficulties women faced in a male dominated world.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Much Ado About You, Samantha Young

Much Ado About You, Samantha Young

Much Ado About You by [Samantha Young]

Genre: Romance

Samantha always delivers a well written romance. This doesn’t have the punch of my favourite, the wonderful On Dublin Street, but its one I really enjoyed. Of course its got a host of characters to love who potentially all have their own stories to tell. I especially want the village’s own Romeo and Juliet’s story! Though hopefully it ends better 😉

Evie is lovely, really taken a chance on life and come to the UK for a working holiday. The village is gorgeous, full of cute artisan shops, and wonderful people. The usual small town gossip abounds, mostly positive, but there’s always folk who want to see the bad. That just makes the village feel more real, it’s how real life is, a mix of good and bad.
Then Evie has some decisions to make, leave everything and take a chance on her heart? Or stay with friends and family?

Roane, wow, he was Mr Wonderful – gave Braden a run for the money! I fell in love with him very quickly. He knew what he wanted, and trod carefully to make it happen. And the gorgeous Shadow, who couldn’t love a man devoted to his dog like that? I so wanted things to work out for him, he was incredibly patient, didn’t push Evie but knew she really felt the same as him, he just waited for her to accept it.

The supporting characters all have very real parts to play, and fit well into the story. I enjoyed learning their stories and how they all fit into the village. Samantha does this in a way that feels natural, not like a list of “ this is Mrs xyz and she’s the baker, this is Mr abc and he’s the local vet…” but lets them roll out along with the story, so when Evie goes to the local pub she meets the couple that run it and their daughter. Of course she also meets some of the regulars, who just happen to have heard the tale of the incident with Shadow and Roane, and gradually I pieced together how everyone fitted in. That works for me. I dislike stories where the characters and situations become an info dump early on, and I have to keep checking back to see who fits where in the story.

I didn’t understand at first when it all went wrong. I was confused by why Evie had what I felt was such an extreme reaction, I felt she was being OTT, really making something out of what was a very small issue in the scheme of things. As I continued reading about her past, and revelations from her family issues came out I understood. To be fair there were pointers early in the book, I just missed the significance.

Its a great story, as a drama lover I’d have liked a bit stronger heartbreak when it went wrong…but that’s just me.

Stars: Four. If you like a sweet romance, with fabulous characters, and a story that feels very real this book is perfect. I’d say its a perfect beach read book, you know, the one you want to just relax and enjoy while lazing in the sand. But hey, its January here in UK and too damn cold, and of course we’re in the grip of Covid. Beach? What beach? It is however a great read if like me you’re finding these times strange, and every now and then you want a story that doesn’t demand too much thinking, but just unfolds and takes you along for the ride.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Book Junkiez

Book Information and Reviews.

Hit or Miss Books

Reviews for children's and adult books.

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

A Writer's Life For Me.

Blog of Author Mishka Jenkins

Book Gossips

We are four cousins hailing from Australia. Love of books runs in our family and we have decided to share our exhilirating gossip sessions with you. Here you can find book reviews from multiple genres, bringing you the best of buzz worthy popular fiction.