Review: Baby Please Don’t Go – Frank Freudberg

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Definitely worth a read!

Goodreads Synopsis:

ALL LOCK GILKENNEY WANTS IS A FAMILY.

BUT HE’LL HAVE TO CROSS THE LINE TO GET ONE.

Lock is a dedicated investigator at Child Protective Services. An anonymous report of neglect comes in. He responds and finds the kids in good health. Lock concludes the report was a ruse, possibly part of a scheme to make Natalie Mannheim—the kids’ mother—look bad in an upcoming divorce trial.

Natalie needs Lock’s expertise to help her win custody—and a multi-million-dollar divorce settlement. He realizes she doesn’t have a prayer in court against her shrewd husband, and only Lock can help her now.

Lock knows all about addiction, and he’s aware of the powerful hold Natalie has on him. But he can’t get her out of his head. Lock is caught between his commitment to take the high road and his burning desire to have a family. In this story of love, lust, deceit and murder, what Lock chooses to do will grab your imagination and never let go.

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What did I like most about this book?

I like how Freudberg allowed me to entered the world of an alcoholic, and addict. How easy is it to want something, know that it’s bad for you but do it anyway… Have that drink knowing and understanding that you cannot just have the one glass you promised yourself but do it anyway. Self destruct by staying with the person who has flaws and allow yourself to be blindsided by them, the person who has the ability to destroy you.

This is a great beginning. Loch appears drunk and is rehearsing admitting to killing a child to his mentor Abner, and I want his story as much as he wants to give it.
<blockquote><em>“When it came to adding it all up, you couldn’t get it right like you usually do. I was in your blind spot.” He pictured Abner,s face draining, his cap falling to the floor. “Me. Lachlan Kilkenny. Killer.”</em></blockquote>
When an author shows that he has good understanding of human behaviour, and Freudberg shows this in his writing it makes for great reading. As his boss Abner questions a man who is suspected of approaching a young boy in a cinema Freudberg gives us an account of a small crowd of lads:
<blockquote><em>A teenager shouted, “Cuff him!” and his friends jeered. They couldn’t have known why the man was being questioned, but that didn’t stop them. It was that kind of town. Other people’s misfortune was good entertainment. Lock shook his head. No doubt, thirty years before he would've been one of the kids jeering.</em></blockquote>
Loch loves children, wants a family of his own to love and working with Child Protecting could be hard for him knowing how others just didn’t care for their children like they should.

So, here is Natalie, a beautiful woman who claims her very rich husband is bad, her kids are suffering and who are Loch’s main priority following a report, but there is an attraction to their mother he feels right from the beginning. You can taste the destruction in the very idea that this may be a good thing, but there is nothing tangible to put your finger on to say otherwise. See, I already felt protective towards Loch! The characters are brilliant, each one with their own agenda and importance.

Loch is so obsessed with Natalie and her children but would he do anything to protect them?

There is a real mix of feelings and relationships throughout giving a distinct depth to the plot. Life is complex; combine relationships with addiction, a persons past, parental love, line crossing, questionable decisions and bad characters. All of this makes for an excellent read.

Things I was not sure about:

The cover didn't grab me, maybe a white background with black letters?     I like the title though.

I did get a little overwhelmed by Loch's gushing over Natalie in the middle, but then I guess people who are obsessed with others tend behave in the same manner constantly.

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Kindle Edition, 332 pages
Published May 6th 2015 by Inside Job Media
ISBN 13 978 0984594535

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Many thanks for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Review: he She, Wayne Clark | ☆☆☆☆☆

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I loved the honesty of the story, it pulls no punches and has a sadness about a life that can never be.

(See below for publishing details of this book)

Synopsis:

Growing numb to life, to his on-and-off girlfriend of many years, his career, even Scotch, a man turns fifty. He is a translator who can no longer dream of translating beautiful works of fiction. He is an amateur musician who can no longer dream of expressing his life on a higher plane, without words. As he glares inside himself he sees little but his declining sexuality, his crumbling hold on life, a growing list of failed relationships, and a darkening well of loneliness.

Stumbling upon an image on the Internet one night, he suddenly hears cell doors sliding open. He stares at a young woman, in profile, beautiful, unblinking, regal. Instinctively he knows that by lingering on that image he will shatter a relationship that has kept him on the sane side of loneliness as surely as if he stepped in front of a speeding eighteen-wheeler. But desperate to feel alive again before time runs out, he knows he must see the stranger behind the pixels on his laptop screen.

Although it is her image that first transfixes him, his eye afterwards chances on a handful of words on the Internet page. She is a dominatrix. The word triggers something inside him, blows the dust off fantasies trickling back to adolescence, and slowly begins to re-choreograph his decades of sexual memories. Was he ever really the dominant male he thought he was? Did he have a sexual alter-ego? Was this the last card he had to play in life? The face on the screen held the answer. He would find out even if it killed him.

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Why did I like this book?

It is a slow starter, but stick with because all of the emotional turmoil that you are enduring at the beginning is very relevant to the life of Kit.

The main character, Kit Cayman is a middle aged man lying in hospital paralysed the only thing he can do is masturbate. Such despair surrounds him as he rejects everything around him. From a beginning of the end, we look back on what brought K to this finality.

K is a middle aged man having a crisis. His life is stale. A translator, working from home, he has been seeing Anna for a while, he has no real social life, he is an alcoholic, stale stale stale. Then he sees a picture of the Egyptian Princess on a website and he falls in love. He meets this Dominatrix and fulfils his fantasy of being spanked wearing a body stocking and it changes his life.

If you are looking to read details of erotica then forget it, however, if you are expecting something deeper psychologically, then this is your book. It is the real deal, it is about the cruelty of life, mid life crisis, BDSM, fantasies and fetish and trust. It is about love, and obsession.

Losing his girlfriend by telling her of his fantasies, K steps into the world of BDSM; trust and power exchange. He become obsessed with his dominatrix the Egyptian Princess, who transforms his life by understanding and fulfilling his fantasy desires. Feeling empowered he deals with his drinking, loses weight and leads a much healthier lifestyle. His whole life gets better.

Having improved his sexual desires, fulfilling it is the one thing which is not part of their relationship and is his one regret. After constantly bombarding her with writing, one day without warning, she disappears from him and passes him to her colleague CC who gives him new experiences and fulfillments although his love obsession is still with his Egyptian Princess.

Forget frivolous descriptions, this is the real deal that explores the relationship between a Dominatrix and a ‘submissive’ or ‘bottom’. The love that comes with trust, the bond that develops between the giver and receiver. An account of just what people get from masochism experiences.

Would you move across country to follow your desires to feel alive? K did just that and meets with his Egyptian Princess once again, but was it the same?

I loved the characters of the Dominatrix, they were real people. Ordinary with a fetish side to them they enjoyed and played to make a living. There was an emotional frailty to the Egyptian Princess that made her endearing as a person.
<p style="text-align: left;">Well thought out and well written, certainly a book that will stay in your head for a while.
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Many thanks to the Publisher for a digital copy via NetGalley in return for my honest review.
BOOK DETAILS:            Available from:   here UK  or  here US

Kindle Edition
Published January 19th 2014 by Wayne Clark YUL/NYC (first published October 12th 2013)
original titlehe & She
edition languageEnglishsettingNew York City, New York (United States)
Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

literary awardsReaders’ Favorite International Book Award for General Fiction Silver Medal Winner (2014)

Review: Life or Death by Michael Robotham

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Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1040 KB
Print Length: 449 pages
Publisher: Sphere (29 July 2014)
Language: English
ASIN: B00HP4HABG
Characters:  Audie Palmer, Desiree Furness

Available from:   AMAZON UK  AMAZON US  and other stores

Synopsis:   

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.
For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.
Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

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My Review

Audie Palmer is his own man and is on a mission which starts by escaping gaol the day before he is released.  So what is going on?
This gritty thriller gives up its secrets in measured doses and kept me guessing right through. Audie’s character is great, he is just the sort of guy you want on your side. It is a real good guy vs bad guy story but working out who is who is not so simple.
I enjoyed how Robotham introduces Audie without telling his history and secrets too quickly, and enables us to get right into his psyche.

“The night is over. Audie leans against a damp wall and writes a list of the things he needs. Other people would be running. They would be selling their watch, the gold in their teeth, a spare kidney; they would be catching a bus to Mexico or Canada or working passage on a container ship or swimming to Cuba. Perhaps he desires his own destruction, although Adie doubts he has the necessary moral fibre to support a death wish.”

There are some really great lines which sang to me as I was reading. Some of them are important and serious, and some were clearly lighthearted but no way detracted from its darker meaning. My favourite line says a universal truth:

Waiting sounds like a passive thing, but it wasn’t for Audie.

There is a great balance of humour with the thrills throughout the book such as this which shows the dark side of characters painting a picture I had in my mind when I read it:

“Mercenaries with made-up name, Jake and Stav, they won’t speak unless they have something to say.  They’ll do their job as long as they’re paid.  Jake has long hair tied back in a ponytail, but he’s receding at the front, as if the tide were going out leaving his eyebrows behind.”

The narrative connected with emotions, that took me into the excitement of the chase.

“Looking up and down the sand, he’s filled with a desperate, almost suffocating sadness and sense of abandonment. Why does the world have so little need of him. Why can’t it just be ambivalent?”

Later in the book enters Special Agent Desiree Furness, knee high to a grasshopper short, she is the person who gave me the ‘finally a good cop whose going to do something’ feeling, and she does not disappoint with her quiet but determined character.

It’s great how the strong characters have not necessarily been thrust forward right at the beginning or have remained in the spotlight of the plot. This is quite clever because all of the players are layered in such a way that it keeps the suspense of where it is leading.

The cover of the book is not exciting but this is a great thriller to read!
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Many thanks to the publisher for a copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Review: Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan

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Paperback: 384 pages

Kindle Edition: 764 KB
Published: February 2015 (first published January 1st 2015)

Publisher:  Piatkus
original title:  Burnt Paper Sky
ISBN13:  9780349406398
edition languageEnglish

BUY NOW:   AMAZON UK    AMAZON US

I gave this book 4 well deserved stars!!

Synopsis:

Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment.  Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust.  But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
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What did I think?

Who could have taken the eight year old from the woods, and how do you find him when there are no witnesses and no clues?

This book is raw with emotional from the mother, anger and accusations flying throughout from the public and there are so many red herrings it is positively a shoal!

Getting into this book was slow for me. Even though the start gets to the point with Rachel looking back a year after her son Ben went missing, the narrative felt like it was getting nowhere fast. However, and this is a big however, this cleverly matched the way the police investigation was going; slowly and getting nowhere fast.

Written in the point of view with Rachel and Jim, the Detective heading the case it is an interesting mix because the effect the case has on Jim is through an account with a Counsellor.

The characters are unpredictable and self destructive in their own way, but there is no rule book on how to feel or behave when your life has been ripped apart by the disappearance of a child not knowing who has them and whether they are still alive. This is where Macmillan excels giving us the desperate chaos of emotions within family and friends.

The ending of the book was SO exciting and I had to keep reading, I had to find out whether my own hunches were right, but of course they weren’t!  I plumped for someone else as the abductor, wrongly it turned out.

This is a good read.

One criticism is that I have no idea why it is called Burnt Paper Sky, maybe I have missed something? The title of the book really didn’t grab me at all and I would possibly have overlooked it a store.
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Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Review: Hail Storme by W.L. Ripley – ☆☆☆☆☆

Cowboy boots, cigars, guns, humour and excitement – what more can I say.  Oh yes, this author is at the top of my favourite list!  

Publisher: Brash Books; 1 edition (5 May 2015) #1
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1941298753
ISBN-13: 978-1941298756

Kindle 3009 kb,  and Paperback 305 Pages

Buy Now:  AMAZON UK   AMAZON US

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Synopsis:
Vietnam vet and former pro football player Wyatt Storme is bow-hunting in Missouri when he stumbles upon a hidden field of marijuana…and is attacked by a vicious dog and shot at by a sniper. He reports violent incident confidentially to the local Sheriff…who is murdered the next day. Storme believes there’s a connection and starts asking questions, unraveling a deadly conspiracy of corruption, drug-trafficking and organized crime… and making himself someone that just about everybody wants dead.

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I just love this series and they just get better!   This is the first in the series of Wyatt Storme and Chick D Easton who are the most likeable pair of tough guys ever.

The book just oozes with testosterone in a good way, just breathe it in girls!     Wyatt Storme ex vet and former pro football player of some note:

“I pushed my cart. Somehow it’s difficult to feel supremely manly while pushing a shopping cart. But I though manly thoughts.”

Wyatt meets Chick, ex spook, in this book and they form a friendship that melds together like a comedy duo with weapons.  These two just can’t walk away from trouble, you know if there is injustice, Storme and Easton will be ahead of every man to sort it out.

“ You don’t like what happened to the sheriff. Wanna do something about it, like you were the Lone Ranger or something.”

Notice that Wyatt makes a statement not ask a question.   Way to go cowboys!

Every word that Ripley give us is exceptionally placed telling a story, describing a character, and building excitement.  The humour throughout this book is wonderful, and enhances the story without diminishing the seriousness of it.  Nothing is superfluous.  I love this line as it is equally important within the plot as any other:

“She walked in the leggy way tall women have. She was tightly muscled and firm like a dancer or a swimmer. She might require further investigation. She was suspiciously beautiful. Maybe I could set up a second appointment, come an hour early. Keep an eye on her. Surveillance was important.”

There doesn’t seem any real reason why these two should get involved in something as deep and nasty as this, other than bravado and adventure.

It is such an exciting plot that I could not put the book down and sat up till late reading till I finished it.   Boy it is good!

I will leave with a description that surely is current in any city around the world today:

“Downtown Paradise was almost gone. Drained of its life by shopping malls, corporate discount chain stores, dual-lane highways, and recession. No jobs and few businesses. The American Dream. Gone without leaving a high-water mark on the buildings. Mortgaged tomorrows for today. Then tomorrow came.”

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Many Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Review: Flight by Isabel Ashdown

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An excellent read – 4 Stars!

Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 21st 2015 by Myriad Editions
ISBN139781908434609

Buy ebook now at:   AMAZON UK ,  AMAZON US

                    Paperback:  WATERSTONES UK 

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Synopsis:

Moving between the beautiful coastline of Cornwall and the left suburbs of London, 'Flight' is a story of secrets and lies – and of the indelible traces that are left behind when someone tries to disappear.

When Wren Irving's numbers come up in the first ever national lottery draw, she doesn't tell her husband, Rob.  Instead she quietly packs her bags, kisses her six-month-old daughter Phoebe goodbye, and leaves.

Two decades later, Rob has moved on and found happiness with their oldest friend, Laura.  Phoebe, now a young woman, has never known any other life.  But when Rob receives a mysterious letter, the past comes back to haunt them  all.  With their cosy world thrown into turmoil, Laura sets out to track Wren down and discover the truth about why she walked out all those years ago.

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What I liked about this book:

This is a story about three people; Wren who cannot cope with being herself as a mother and wife, Rob her husband, and Laura their friend who is full of life, and fits neatly into the golden trio bringing it love, laughter and life.  Told through individual perspectives bringing a quality of story telling that is a delight to read.This is one of my favourite lines because it captures a complete essence with a snapshot line.

“The sole of the bongo player’s leather boot flapped at the heel, snapping in rhythm with his stride, opening and closing like a lazy mouth”.

Imagine this: you love your friend, you love your husband, your child but you simply cannot stay because you feel…what? Stifled, isolated, dead inside. Ashdown offers a glimpse into the rare unexplained pain of the fear of motherhood and marriage. What should have happened is that your best friend Laura should have stayed with you and Rob, the three of you could have survived together, but grown ups leave behind the group of ‘besties’ and split into adult relationships.

As a mother it is nigh impossible to understand how any one could abandon their child, but reading this story brought a memory back of a friend (with mental health difficulties) who did the same thing for similar reasons and I was blown away by Ashdown’s perfect account of the emotions surrounding the whole thing. Such wonderfully, softly written complexity of life that speaks the unspeakable.

Wren’s life in Cornwall is quite enviable with life itself melting into the landscape. Isolation in the most beautifulest of places, self sufficiency and a cottage just big enough for one and a couple of dogs. But, life has a way of finding you and catching up.

However this is definitely not a predictable book at all, it not simply about how they each cope emotionally, it is about secrets that will shock and change everything forever.

I would definitely recommend this book for those who like complex stories of relationships.

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I am so please to have received this book as a Goodreads first reads winner. Thank you!

Review: A Year Unplugged: A Family’s Life Without Technology | by Sharael Kolberg

 

25252771I do love to read about how people live their lives different to mine and I was not disappointed. Kolberg is a great writer, there is no superfluous drivel, only what we want to read and it is such an enjoyable read.

Form
at: Kindle Edition
File Size: 577 KB
Print Length: 391 pages

ISBN13: 9780988961043

Paperback, 389 pages
Published March 5th 2015 by Sharael Kolberg
ISBN 0988961040
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.ayearunplugged.com

You can buy it here:    AMAZON UK   or  AMAZON US

Goodreads synopsis:

In A Year Unplugged, Sharael Kolberg chronicles her family’s brave attempt to wean themselves from technology in an effort to reclaim quality family time. The Kolbergs decided to turn off their television, unplug their iPods, iPhones, laptops and digital cameras, and disconnect from e-mail, cell phones and the Internet. Not an easy task.

Sharael’s true-life tale explores how dependent we are on technology and the impact it has on interpersonal relationships and society. Through thought-provoking, humorous and heart-wrenching narrative, Sharael hopes to compel readers to open dialogue about the conscious use of technology.

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What I liked best:

A Year Unplugged: A Family’s Life Without Technology reminds us how our lives have changed beyond recognition within a relatively short time. For us older people, we remember as children living the life she has written about (and I am only in my sixties!) However, for Sharael and her family her life has always included technology so how could she possibly know any different, especially as we now live in a world where technology is the norm.

This was one brave decision for her to make especially for family with a child aged 6. I loved reading how not only did their lives change but they grew as people. There is an envy that I feel at how they pared their lives back to a simplicity focussing on peace within themselves and nature around them.

Katelyn loves Hannah Montana and the funniest line I am reading is this,

“Yes, she is overly commercialised, but the bottom line is that Miley Cyrus was a little girl with a dream of becoming a singer and now she’s living that dream. I want the same for Katelyn, minus the flashy clothes.”

Not sure of I know of anyone who wants their daughter to emulate Miley Cyrus! (I think she may have changed her mind later).

I love how there are many intelligent and pertinent quotes throughout this book. Kids are cash cows, and Sharael show us this with Disney’s mission statement which is,

“To create high-quality content and apply innovative technology to raise the level of consumer experience in a way that differentiates Disney.”

She then describes the must-have merchandise that accompanies all Disney films generating even more income.

There are so many wonderful quotes thoughtfully accompanying her story I felt totally inspired by reading it.

“First I cleaned my garage, now I am cleaning my mind of clutter. Reading now allows me to enjoy some peace and quiet, both externally and internally.”

I can identify with this totally, moving to a smaller place I simply got rid of (freecycled) most of my possessions and it was so cathartic.

When we are so proud of multitasking Sharael shows how it is indicative of life crammed with exhaustive doing, instead of peacefully living.

The influence on six year old Katelyn is profound, of course she misses technology but she also embraces the world around her giving her a new perspective on life. Sharael volunteers gardening and creates a friendship garden in her home with her Katelyn.

“I had no idea that volunteering my time would inevitably lead to bonding with my daughter. What a wonderful gift.”

It is sadly obvious, how her husband Jeff is not able to unplug totally because of his job and therefore misses out on giving more attention to their daughter missing out on the same closer bond. Kolberg shows how people get sucked into the norm of husbands working full time, then when they get home to ‘finish/prepare a report’ for the next day. Yes they spend their time hiking and other outdoor activities instead of sitting in front of a tv screen is positive family time, but it is a sorry state for the world to be in where companies insist on 12 hour day working time to ‘keep in the game’ so to speak.

“I had an epiphany. I might not be who I think I am. I thought I could not live without technology, but I can. Technology has been such a huge part of who I am – defining my career, social life, relationships, education, interests. I’m realising that I can be someone other than who I thought.”

Writing this review I realised I had noted so many passages that inspired me and wanted to personally keep. In fact if I passed on all of them I would basically be re-writing the book here!!

Whoever thinks unplugging is easy, read this book. Whoever thinks technology does not affect your children, read this book. Read it anyway because there are lots of ideas to bring you closer together as a family.
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Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an ebook copy in return for my honest review. (less)

Review: Season of Longing: Seasons series # 3 | by Sadie Matthews

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The Prologue got me hooked straight away..hot hot hot!  I gave this book 4 stars.

Paperback, 368 pages – Also Available in Kindle

Published: March 12th 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 1444781227

(ISBN13: 9781444781229)

You can buy it here:    Amazon UK    or     Amazon US

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Goodreads synopsis:

All Summer Hammond has ever wanted is love and security. Now, she feels terribly alone. Her sisters Freya and Flora are consumed with their love affairs, and worse than that, their father has finally lost patience with his wayward daughters, deciding he will cut them off financially for good. The shock of rejection hits Summer hard and she decamps to LA, where she meets Jack Fiori, a gorgeous Italian American. The attraction between them is unmistakable, and when Jack invites Summer on a trip to Vegas, just the two of them, she eagerly accepts. But it soon becomes clear that the trip was a ruse. To her horror, Summer realizes she’s been kidnapped. But Jack won’t listen to her explain she’s no longer an heiress. For a kidnapper, he seems curiously uninterested in money. Summer is sure that Jack isn’t going to hurt her, but she needs to find out why this is happening. Gradually, the intensity between them builds to levels neither of them can resist. And Summer will find out the secret of why Jack has brought her here and what he hopes to gain…

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<strong>What I liked about this book</strong>

Now, I am not normally one for reading steamy novels because they don’t always have that much excitement in them for me. I was pleasantly surprise by Season of Longing because it was a great story to go with the sex!

It is well written making a very enjoyable read. Just the thing to read as a light hearted steamy/romance/bad guys turn out good guys book.

The lives of rich three girls go bad after their father has a new woman in his life years of being alone after their mothers death, and he cuts them off financially to fend for themselves. Two have relationships with people he doesn't approve of and the third, Summer, is terrified to have any relationship. Sounds predictable doesn't it…but wait this is a great story and one which had me gripped throughout.

The steamy intimate scenes were beautifully executed, and maintained each individuals personality so that it was not just token sex thrills for the reader. Get what I am saying here?

The characters were great, I too fell for Jack, oh that rippled body! That intense mystery about him. I disliked their billionaire father intensely but understood the world he lived in was far removed from ordinary people.

I enjoyed the flow of this book as it took me on a great journey. Sadly though I see this is the final book in the Seasons trilogy and I have not read the first two, although I am thinking that they too will make cracking reads!

Do I recommend this book, hell yes, and the first two if they are anything like this one!

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Many thanks to the publisher for a paperback copy of this book for my honest review.

Review: Mortal Threat (Threat #4) – by A.J. Tata

 
ebook
Published January 15th 2015 by Washburn Books
original titleMortal Threat
ISBN139781475605020
edition languageEnglish
url  http://www.ajtata.com/
seriesThreat #4

Buy now at:  Amazon UK,  Amazon US or other book stores

Goodreads Blurb…..

Medical school student Amanda Garrett and American doctors working secretly in Africa have found a cure for the Ebola and Human Immunodeficiency Viruses. Leaders of the Islamic State want the cure so they can show the world Islam is a benevolent religion that all Africans should follow. The President of the United States believes an alleged 30,000-year-old Sub-Saharan religious text called The Book of Catalyst identifies him as being of divine origin. As Amanda operates her portion of the clandestine CIA Project Nightingale in a Tanzanian orphanage, she is attacked and chased by brutal killers called The Leopard and The Cheetah. Amanda has 48 hours to escape across the Serengeti Plain before the remaining vials of the cure expire. The Islamic State escalates attacks across the Middle East using freshly converted fighters from Africa. The American President, however, chooses not to deploy sufficient troops to save U.S. Special Forces, including Amanda’s husband, assisting in the air war against ISIS. As Amanda attempts to save the rapidly decomposing formula for the Ebola and HIV cures, she finds herself at the center of a clash between warring media titans, Jonathan Beckwith and Zhor al Rhazziq, who are following her every step toward the Olduvai Gorge, which some scientists claim to be the origin of human life.

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What did I like best about the story:

I liked how the character Beckwith was manipulating the situation including the US President in his bid to get the formula for the ‘cure’ and find the tree of life. There was some very complex and clever thought out plot lines with him. I like how it showed the effect of religion producing war in countries. The US President just amplifies how gullible people in power can be. This is a complex political plot that includes several nations.

I also liked how Amanda’s character was both soft and caring, but with a no-nonesense strength inside which she shows later when in danger. It is good to see her be a real fighter instead of a whimpering woman. Us girlies who love a bit of excitement and adventure love to see a woman get stuck in with a weapon of some sort.
What did not work for me:

I believe Kiram and Mumbato are suppose to represent good and bad in their characters, with Kiram being the good ‘boy’ and Mumbato not always making the right decisions, however their characters are not quite strong enough to show this.

There was a bit of a ‘boy’ toy thing going on with detailed description of Beckwith’s yacht which to me seemed superfluous so I didn’t bother reading that bit! I do struggle with passages where the descriptions do not seem to add to the story.

I struggled with the continuity of various scenes in different countries, where more than one country is involved and different villains with different agendas it became very complex.

When the religious consequence of the new information is revealed I was not over-awed. It was like an ‘oh right’ moment.

I would give this book a rating of 3 stars, but I know that many will find it a thrilling read because there are some great scenes in the plot line, worth a read.
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I didn’t know this was the fourth book in the series, maybe the first three would have given me greater understanding.  There is also a lot of advertising blurb about what a great book it is, which seems a bit of overkill to me.  I really dislike it when I am being bombarded with “fantastic, great read, best ever, exciting, thrilling, book of the year” type of hype because it immediately makes me think that why do they need to push it so much if is brilliant?  In my eyes a book speaks for itself, rather than its marketing strategy.

Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy in return for my honest review.

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald


What an absolute joy to read! 

Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage Digital (18 Jun. 2015)

ISBN: 978 070 118 9068

Publishers: Chat & Windus
Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies

Available to buy from:      AMAZON UK or other online or High street stores.

Synopsis by Goodreads:  

This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.

It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair

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This is a delightful Sunday, curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate book.

Sara living in Sweden accepts an invitation to visit her book reading pen pal, Amy, in Broken Wheel, Iowa USA and arrives during her funeral.

Amy was an influential force in the town and learning who she was brings Sara into the heart of Broken Wheel until she herself becomes influential in the towns future centred very much around books.

I enjoyed this perceptive observation.

How could it be possible to have travelled thousands of miles and still be the same person when you arrived? Sara couldn’t understand it.

I understand how that feels!

The town of broken wheel had given up ‘life’ long ago with its inhabitance just getting by until Sara arrives and opens a book shop. We learn about each of their lives, hopes, and fears through Sara, and Amy’s letters to her.

This is such a sweet book written by someone who loves books, for people who love books. I am not just talking about the written word but books themselves. When Sara is introducing a young girl Sophy to books she gets her to smell each book and experience how each one is different.

Sophy lifted the book to her face, still cautiously and carefully, and slowly breathed in through her nose. she smiled.
‘Can you smell it? The scent of new books. Unread adventures. Friends you haven’t met yet. hours of magical escapism awaiting you.’

(I was there smelling those books with her with the anticipation of adventures to come for me, know what I mean?)

Make no mistake this is not just a ‘nice’ book to read, there is a real mix of individual stories encompassing gender, sex, separation, racial harmony, vulnerability and more.

And of course there has to be a love story and although reasonably predictable it is not really the main focus, but is a delightful thread throughout. The soul of the town itself is the focus which is of course its people, and most people have an interesting story to tell… Knowing Sara’s tourist visa is about to run out the town sets about finding a way of keeping her there.

I have to say I stayed up till the early hours finishing the book because I was enjoying it so much.

A definite recommended read.
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Many thanks to the Publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.