Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A poignant tale set in savage British Columbia

How do you move on if the past won't let you go? 

The loss of her mother has left Kali McKenzie with too many unanswered questions. But while clearing out Elena's art studio, she finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message from a Canadian gallery owner called Susannah Gillespie: Thinking of you. Who is this woman and what does she know about Elena's hidden past? Desperate to find out, Kali travels with her toddler, Finn, to Susannah's isolated home on a remote British Columbian island, a place of killer whales and storms. But as bad weather closes in, Kali quickly realises she has made a big mistake. The handsome and enigmatic Susannah refuses to talk about the past, and as Kali struggles to piece together what happened back in the 1970s, Susannah' behaviour grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn... 

A tense, thrilling novel about a family divided by secrets, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.

I really don’t know why I completed this book other than the fact that I am a compulsive book finisher, but I am glad that I did.

I really did not like the character of Kali; she was a whiner and winger of the highest order.  She set out on her own mission heading nothing and no one.  Kali is totally self-centred almost to a point of obsession.  She is a mother of a two-year old who she takes on a trek with very little thought or planning!  Who in their right mind would do that but oh wait she’s grieving (if that is an excuse).  Her reason for the trek was to find out about her mother.  To be honest though who really knows what their mother was like before they were born?  Children only really ever learn what their parents are willing to tell them.

The other character equally unlikeable was Susannah.  She too was selfish, stand offish and untrustworthy but for entirely different reasons.

This reader felt that the wonderful descriptions of the rugged landscape were made often at the expense of the storyline.  Likewise the many conversations between Susannah and Kali, Kali and Doug, and Kali and her son were repetitive beyond belief causing the story to flag in all the wrong places.

I had already guessed part of the plot line but not everything.  The book was a plodder until about 80% when it took off at a break neck pace but honestly the things Alice didn’t realise had been done to her I was like WHHHHAATTT!!!

I do not think the payoff warranted the time spent reading this novel and will find it difficult to read another book by this author.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I gave the review a 2 star Netgalley rating, and an ‘I did not like it’ rating on (2 stars) and (1 star).

I obviously went through a Navy SEAL phase - well no more!!

Navy SEAL John Sloane didn’t expect to be reunited with the girl whose heart he broke.

But when Alicia Adam's daughter is kidnapped, he jumps into action.

To regain her trust and protect her, he'll risk his career and even his life.  It all hinges on one daring scheme that could put everything in jeopardy! 

This was my first book by this author and it will be my last unfortunately.  This reader cannot give this book a favourable review as I thought this book was a waste of time, paper and effort not only on the part of the author, the agent and the publisher but also on the part of this reader.

It is the usual uninspired plot line of Hero returns home after years away and is reunited with an unrequited love who gets themselves into trouble and whom he has to save.  With the typical ‘Happy Ever After’ ending.

The characters did not ring true.  The SEAL could not have been further from SEAL material if the author made him an actual seal.  To make matters worse we are constantly reminded that he is an ex-Seal.  The female lead was a waste of space and played the poor put upon female to a ‘t’.  When the characters are allowed inner dialogue this is constantly repetitive and boring beyond belief. 

The good guys and the bad guys were obvious right from the get go and nothing was really left for the reader to ponder over.  And without giving too much away, they got what they deserved.

The author pays attention to the action part of the book but neglects character and plot development together with character back stories.  There was little to no sexual chemistry between the main parties and nothing to get the reader caring about what would happen to them.

This story has been done to death in many different styles, forms and set in many different scenarios and eras.  Please authors come up with something more original, interesting and thought provoking for your readers.  They will thank you for it.

In short this reader found this novel to be an absolute waste of time paper and effort.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I gave this a 1 star Netgalley rating, and an ‘I did not like it’ rating on (2 stars) and (1 star).

A Romance with navy-SEALS, cowboys and horses

Ava Buchanan dreams of a career on the rodeo circuit. Winning a spot on a one-of-a-kind team would be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted. Ava won’t let anyone stand in her way—not even a stubborn cowboy whose slow-molasses smile and red-hot swagger set her senses aflame . . . and whose talents as a trainer could make her a star. Rodeo might be a man’s game, but Ava knows the right woman’s touch can tame the wildest heart.

Trace Carter believes his mayor’s plan to raise the town’s profile has disaster written all over it, and he won’t allow the Hell’s Outlaws Training Center to be dragged into the fiasco. Yet watching Ava’s delectable body on horseback proves too much of a temptation, and his fantasies stray to her riding skills outside the arena. Soon Trace is fighting like hell to rein in his unbridled desire for the petite brunette before it becomes a passion hotter than the Texas sun.

This is a bit different to the more traditional romantic fiction in so much as that instead of a weak female, we have a former navy Seal who is an Alpha male, chauvinistic and weak willed were women are concerned and a feisty woman, wanting to do a traditionally man’s job.  Instead of being a strong cowboy we get a melodramatic, whiney goat herder.  The poor female protagonist did not know which way was up.  In short these characters were focused on what they wanted and they were each as stubborn as the proverbial mule and I just wanted to knock some sense into them.

I really wanted to like the characters but they did not interest me in the least; the story was rather too flat for my tastes and whatever hotness was there was a huge let down. 

There were so many minor characters that it was easy to lose track of who was who and what their intentions were.  I think even the author lost track of what she was making her characters do or say as in a few places the novel was contradictory for example when Trace says that buck sliced him with a broken bottle and wold limp for a week and then later Trace tells Buck if he finds out who did it he would go after them.

There are just too many things happening which is a great foil to be explored in later books in the series.  However, this reader found the whole thing very clichéd, disappointingly predictable and the verbal discourse between the characters was worth of a very poor soap opera.  I found the couple’s sexual encounters a huge let down too.  This was my first book by this author and sadly it will be my last.

Although this book wasn’t for me; if you like a light read for taking to the beach or to while away rainy or snowy days then this may be one for you.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I gave this a 2 star Netgalley rating, and an ‘I did not like it’ rating on (2 stars) and (1 star).

First post and first review of 2015

Those of you who know me (either personally or through my blog (  know that I have usually got my nose in a book and since learning to teach I have been able to access the wonderful website Netgalley which gives educators, professional bloggers and librarians the chance to read Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of upcoming books in various categories/genres.  You request the books you are interested in and are either authorised or declined depending on your profile, your reviews, and the demographic requirements of the publisher. 

Unlike many reviewers I do not include a précis of the novel (that is what the ‘blurb’ is for) but rather concentrate on my experience of the novel thereby giving an honest review.

As you know, I got behind in my blogging and have not posted many of my reviews here but that is going to change.  Whenever I post a review on Netgalley it will also appear on my page at Goodreads, Amazon, The LibraryThing, Facebook, and here.  However, any craft books read will be reviewed at

The first book to be reviewed this year is:

Her birth betrayed her. Would he betray her too? 

*Not a traditional Regency* 

Shocking family news forces Madeline Wetherby to abandon her plans to marry an earl and settle for upstart Manchester merchant Nash Quinn. When she discovers that her birth father is one of the weavers her husband is putting out of work—and a radical leader—Maddie must decide which family she truly desires, the man of her heart or the people of her blood. 

An earl's second son, Nash chose a life of Trade over Society. When protest marches spread across Lancashire, the pressure on him grows. If he can't make both workers and manufacturers see reason he stands to lose everything: his business, his town, and his marriage. 

As Manchester simmers under the summer sin, the choices grow more stark for Maddie and Nash:  family or justice, love or money, life or death.

Apart from the obvious outline; of a typical female trying to fight her station in life; this novel does have a decent plot line setting much of the action during the historical period of the Peterloo massacre which enhances the underling tones of change ad turmoil that each of the main characters is experiencing.  (At the time of reading I did not realise this was a real event.)  Interestingly, we see what happens to the second born son of nobility.  How they have to forge their way in life, and the prejudices they ave to deal with.  

The tale, is by its very nature, formulaic; and, of course, there is a villa (as there always s in these novels).  But the setting, the characters and plot all mesh together creating an intriguing read.

Although the main characters are well developed, this reader had difficulty liking either of them.  For most of the book these two were not even talking to each other!.  Also there are do may minor characters which in itself was confusing.  What I did enjoy was her participation n the 'massacre' itself which was nail bitingly good.

That said though, this reader did feel that the political aspects of the book took over from the romance aspect.  If you want to write an historical book about the political aspects of the industrial revolution, write one.  If you want to write an historical romance, then write one of those but putting both in the same book means that each aspect is not written to its full potential and thereby fives for a poorer read.

Some of the language used in the book clearly indicated that the author is an American.  For instance when the hero was in the kitchen talking about supper there was a mention of biscuits; now was that a cookie biscuit or a roll/scone biscuit?  The author states that the season was fall; well n the UK we call this autumn.  While these errors do not really detract from the story, if you are going to use the UK as your base of operations please, please, please ensure that you use the correct terminology and spelling.

Overall the book was an intriguing read but if you are looking for a fluffy historical romance then this is not the book for you.

Full disclosure;  ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I rated this book 3 stars on Netgalley and 'It was ok' on (3 stars) and (2 stars)