#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Loving Vengeance’ by @GeorgiaRoseBook #HeistCrime #BookReview

Today I offer you a review of Loving Vengeance by Georgia Rose one of my favourite authors of contemporary romantic suspense.

Loving Vengeance (The Ross Duology Book 2) by [Rose, Georgia]

From the Blurb

A woman with a troubled past. A new love hanging in the balance. Will an unexpected visitor strengthen her resolve or destroy the life she’s trying to build?

Madeleine’s world, once so organised, is a mess. Suffering the fallout from the mistakes she made with Tag, she has no idea where she stands with Daniel. Are they only friends or is there still a chance for something more?

Enter James – cool, calm and calculated. A stranger, she thinks. But he knows her, and he comes with an opportunity she can’t refuse, involving an enemy she’d tried to forget. At first keen to return to her past, Madeleine soon realises it’s not only the gang that’s changed, and battles her own demons as well as an unpredictable villain.

Can Daniel step up when he’s needed? Or will it be James who rides in to the rescue? Because when things go badly for Madeleine, and all hope seems lost, there is only one who can save the day. And only one who can bring more to the task than merely himself.

****

My Review

Loving vengeance is the second book in the Ross Duology.

Although Loving Vengeance could be read as a standalone, I suggest reading Book 1, Parallel Lies, first. Here’s my review of Parallel Lies

This is the fifth book I’ve read by Georgia Rose, and in each one the writing gets better. It’s a compelling novel. Once you start reading Maddy’s story, the narrative grabs you and hooks you to the end!

l thoroughly enjoyed Loving Vengeance for several reasons, firstly because I had read book 1 in the series and I was wondering how Maddy’s complicated life would proceed. Both novels are set in a quaint, English village, Crowbridge, with its array of local characters, including crooks, bored housewives, mistresses, endearing old ladies, and even a writer, who often gather in the local pub. It was a pleasure to meet them again.

Secondly there is an intriguing plot including vengeance, robbery, organised crime and the low life of London, where Maddy was brought up.

Thirdly, there’s a romanic triangle in the story. Maddy is recovering from a traumatic event at the beginning of the novel (no spoilers here, you’ll have to read book one!), and she has a incipient, romantic relationship with Dan, who is helping her to overcome the trauma, but in steps a new and mysterious character, James, who shows an interest in her. Will she make the right choice?

Loving Vengeance is a page-turning novel, especially for anyone who enjoys reading well-written crime novels including romantic suspense and set in the UK.

Parallel Lies (The Ross Duology Book 1) by [Rose, Georgia]

****

Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favourite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.

Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.

Following a long stint working in the law Georgia set up her own business providing administration services for other companies which she does to this day managing to entwine that work along with her writing.

Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her passion for people watching and her overactive imagination!

Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog.

 

The Grayson Trilogy

Georgia’s Amazon UK link

Georgia’s Amazon.com link

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Runaway Wife’ by Dee Macdonald #Women’sFiction #BookReview

Today I offer you a review of a hilarious, heart-warming novel about Connie, wife, mother, grandmother, extraordinaire, who at 66 has decided she’s had enough of them all and sets out on a journey of self-discovery!

The Runaway Wife: A laugh out loud feel good novel about second chances by [MacDonald, Dee]

From the Blurb

One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

****

My Review

There are so many reasons why I loved this book!

It’s hilarious, heart-warming (did I already say that? well that’s because it’s very-heartwarming, indeed!), optimistic, adventurous, interesting, realistic, romantic, sad, and ultimately uplifiting, because Connie reminds us that it’s never too late, for anything!

I’ve had a very eventful Christmas-New Year festivities. catering for my three children and four grandchildren has been fun, but exhausting, and although my husband, fortunately, is nothing like Roger, (and by the way, no-one’s husband should be anything like Roger), there were moments when I felt, just like Connie. I wanted to say, “Look, I’ve had enough of cooking, shopping, advising, counselling, being understanding, playing with the kids, babaysitting, and generally supporting everyone’s family! I want my own life back!”

Connie’s travels from Sussex to Inverness are such fun. I enjoyed all the different types of people she meets and the enriching and diverse awakenings she narrates.

She garners unforgettable experiences and meets some amazing people, who will help her understand her past and embrace her future with renewed optimism. In spite of the last, shocking encounter when she returns home, Connie can cope because she’s become stronger and more assertive than she’s ever been.

Especially for anyone who enjoys reading well-written, humorous, women’s fiction set in the UK. The Runaway Wife is a real gem! A different and exceptional novel.

I’ve discovered a new favourite author. Next on my list is her latest novel, The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane.

The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane: An absolutely hilarious feel good novel by [MacDonald, Dee]

****

Dee MacDonald

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Dee’s Amazon UK link

Dee’s Amazon.com link

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Hold Me In The Dark’ by Helena Newbury #Romance #BookReview

I’ve read, enjoyed and reviewed most of Helena Newbury’s books to date, so I’m pleased to be reviewing her latest novel, Hold Me In The Dark, published this week, and it’s already on the amazon bestseller list.

Hold Me in the Dark by [Newbury, Helena]

Helena Newbury has written another fabulous standalone, romantic suspense!

Sam Calahan is an FBI agent, who is pursuing a ruthless and disturbing serial killer. His victims have nothing in common and the crime scenes are covered with complex mathematical equations, written with the victims’ blood, no one in the FBI can solve.

Yolanda, a reclusive and eccentric mathematical genius, and hacker by trade, is the only person who can help unravel the case by solving the equations. As they work together, and close in on the murderer, both their lives will be in danger.

Ms Newbury has created another unlikely and compelling couple, who will gradually fall in love as they are faced with challenging external situations, as well as their own egos, complexes and personal differences.

There is plenty of suspense, with many twists in the plot, the most surprising one, regarding the motivations and identity of the killer, was shockingly unexpected.

Yolanda is an intelligent and independent woman who is coping with tortuous mental and physical issues, while Sam, an obsessive workaholic, is also suffering from his own remorse. Together they will solve the case and perhaps repair their tormented minds.

The author combines plot and characterization perfectly to create a fast paced novel with likeable and unique characters who encourage the reader to turn the pages to find out what will happen next.  

It was a treat to see the three-woman hacker and internet vigilante group, Sisters of Invidia, again, Lily and Bull and Gabriella and Alexei, who starred in previous novels (Texas Kissing and Kissing my Killer), were finally able to meet up in person.

I enjoyed the Manhattan setting, the sweet and then steamy romance, and the action packed and suspenseful final scenes.

Especially for lovers of romantic suspense with plenty of action, and of course, happy ever afters with larger than life main characters. A wintry treat at just over a dollar! (for a short time!)

****

Helena Newbury is the author of well-written romantic novels with plenty of suspense, some steamy scenes, engaging characters and captivating stories.

Here are my reviews of some of her other novels, including one of her most popular books, the medical thriller, Mount Mercy.

Mount Mercy by [Newbury, Helena]

Many of her novels, such as Kissing my Killer, one of my all-time favourites, are included in  Audible Escape.

Kissing My Killer audiobook cover art

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Escape’ by C. L. Taylor #BookReview #Thriller

I don’t read paperbacks very often any more, because I read mostly on my kindle or audiobooks. I love my kindle app because I can read anywhere, anytime, with no hassle, and I love my audiobooks because I can cook, iron, or go for a walk while I read/listen.

Today, I’m reviewing one of the few paperbacks I’ve recently read, The Escape, by C. L. Taylor.

There it is above, sitting in front of the Christmas flower my son bought me a few days ago!

The Escape: The gripping, twisty thriller from the #1 bestseller by [Taylor, C.L.]

Blurb

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

C.L. Taylor

CL Taylor lives in Bristol. She studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle and has worked as a sales administrator, web developer, instructional designer and as the manager of a distance learning team at a London university. She now writes full time.

CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller BEFORE I WAKE (THE ACCIDENT in the UK) was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second and third novels, THE LIE and THE MISSING, were Sunday Times Bestsellers and #1 Amazon Kindle chart bestsellers. THE ESCAPE was published in the UK in March 2017 and was also a Sunday Times Bestseller and won the Dead Good Books Hidden Depths award for Most Unreliable Narrator.

Since writing The Escape she has written The Missing, Fear and her latest novel Sleep, which have all been highly acclaimed.

My Review

It all starts when a stranger asks Jo for a lift. Jo is shocked to discover the woman knows all about her, her husband, Max, and her two year old daughter, whom she subtly threatens.

From then on her life becomes a nightmare, but nobody believes her, the police, social workers and her husband all think she’s either lying, exaggerating or unstable.

The story is told mainly from Jo’s first person point of view, so the reader feels Jo’s constant fear for her daughter’s safety, and sympathises with her as she has to deal with some complex mental issues, as well as protecting her daughter from the novel’s ‘villain’ who narrates some chapters. Other chapters are narrated by Max in the third person.

There are plenty of twists and turns, secrets, lies and betrayal, with lots of fast paced action leading to the final surprising twist.

A must read for anyone who, like me, enjoys fast paced and carefully plotted domestic thrillers, set in the UK.

*****

More reviews by Luccia here!

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett @ParnassusBooks1 #BookReview #Audiobook by @TomHanks

The Dutch House: A Novel by [Patchett, Ann]

I am ashamed to say that this is the first novel I’ve read by Anne Patchett, and I’m so glad I read it. I was so impressed that I read her most famous novel Commonwealth, straight after, and I enjoyed it even more, but more about that another week.

The Dutch House (from the blurb).

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. The story is told by Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

****

Ann Patchett

ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times bestsellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes.  She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

****

My Review

The Dutch House is such an emotional novel that I had to wipe away some tears as I listened to the last lines.

It’s hard to describe the beauty of the story and the smoothness of the prose, in a novel where nothing exceptional happens and yet so many extraordinary things take place over three generations.

Danny, the narrator, is an honest and endearing character. We first meet him as a child trying to understand the world and the contradictory adults in his family. As he grows up, he becomes a generous and reliable narrator who tells every character’s story with insight and empathy.

Danny chronicles a tragedy about dysfunctional families, including deficient parenting and the destructive power of jealousy leading to cruelty bordering on abuse, and yet it’s also an uplifting tale of love, forgiveness, and goodness.

Nothing is repaired, because the past can’t be changed, and yet everything works out, because life’s like that; it’s a cycle, so, in a way, we are always going back and revisiting the past, occasionally, as in this case, with some improvement.

A warning, the beginning is slow, but it’s well worth persevering, and if you can, listen to Tom Hanks magnificent reading. Unforgettable.

A must read for anyone who enjoys family sagas set in 20th century USA, and for those who believe in the healing power of forgiveness.

*****

More reviews by Luccia here!

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘My Life as a Rat’ by @JoyceCarolOates #BookReview

My Life as a Rat: A Novel by [Oates, Joyce Carol]

I’m a bit behind with my reviews. I’ll be catching up gradually. Today, I’m starting with the last book I’ve read, which is My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates.

I am ashamed to admit that although I have read some of her poems and posted about one of them here, I had never read any novels by this author. Then a few weeks ago, I read an interview with the author about her new novel, in the Guardian, and my interest was peaked, but when I read the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I was almost put off. I say almost, because I’m an avid reader, reviewer and writer, and I know how subjective most reviews are.

Some of the negative terms which appeared were, too long, repetitive, slow, disappointed, disorganised, violence, abuse, disturbing. That made me realise it would not be an easy book to read, but I decided I was up for the challenge.

I started reading the book on my Scribd subscription last Friday, and I couldn’t stop until I finished it on Sunday night. It’s hard to introduce other readers to such a brilliant book in a few hundred words, but I’m going to do my best.

Joyce Carol Oates

My Life as a Rat is a heart-rending novel which deals with topics such as, abuse, domestic violence, ignorance, racism and gender inequality.

It presents these topics honestly and brutally, so much so that some people may feel uncomfortable, or even disgusted. Well this isn’t a light romance, this is a raw and harrowing view of a segment of the population. Extrapolating Violet’s town, family and life to every woman in the world would be absurd, even though Violet is not the only girl who has lived or lives so close to so many ignorant and/or evil people.

In spite of everything Violet experiences, I find the novel hopeful because the reader is led to believe there is an implicit answer to the senseless violence, lack of love, gender inequality, racism and ignorance, and that’s Violet’s attitude to adversity: learn the lesson, get up and move on! That is to say she persevers, she tries to do the right thing, she actively searches for a better education, she wishes to accept her responsibility in events, forgive herself and others and repair whatever she can, and especially, she never loses the ability to keep reaching for her dreams.

Violet is a wonderful character who never gives up, she’s bigger than the events she overcomes, because she’s able to move on, keep loving and forgiving, and I think she stands a good chance of finding happiness, perhaps, one day…

A must read for anyone who wants to understand what’s wrong with our society and how we can find ways to heal and be reconciled.

*****

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘K’ is for Lisa Kleypas @LisaKleypas ‘The Ravenels and The Wallflowers’ @Scribd #HistoricalRomance

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I love novels set in Vicrorian England and I enjoy reading romance, in between psychological thrillers and literary fiction, and I’ve found the perfect combination in Lisa Kleypas. She has written various series of historical romance, set in 19th century England, such as The Ravenel Series of four novels and The Wallflowers of five novels. In her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughter, The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers!

Lisa is ranked #10 bestselling kindle (US) author of historical romance, and the reason is she writes engaging and entertaining, well-written historical romance. On this occasion, I’ve listened to her  novels on Scribd, but they’re also available on Audible.

Lisa Kleypas

All her novels are standalones, but if you read them in order, it leads to a better reading experience, because the characters are related, either by family or friendship, so characters in previous books will appear in later titles.

I’d recommend you start with the first Ravenel book, published in 2015, which is also one of my favourites. By the way, aren’t those covers beautiful?

Cold-Hearted Rake audiobook cover art

Hello Stranger, published in 2018 is my favourite, perhaps because it was the first one I read and then I made my way back to the first three books in the series!

The female lead in Hello Stranger, Dr. Garrett Gibson, is a woman ahead of her time. She’s the only female physician in England, and is making herself respected in a man’s world. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, daring and independent. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. They are both drawn into dangerous plot against the government.

Hello Stranger audiobook cover art

Her latest novel, Devil’s Daughter, is the delightful story of a widow with two young children and a reformed rake.

Devil's Daughter audiobook cover art

Lisa Kleypas’s historical novels have all the ingredients for an exciting and entertaining journey into Victorian England. The novels are well researched and plotted, with engaging heroes and heroines. Readers will visit Victorian London, from the dark alleyways and slums, gentlemen’s and gaming clubs, to stately town houses and horse rides in Regents Park, as well as travels to country estates. There are villains, rakes and other evil characters who battle against her main characters. You can also look forward to plenty of (unstressful) suspense, in spite of expecting a happy ending, because the journey towards the grand finale is so enjoyable.

Lisa Kleypas, like Jane Austen, is well aware that in 19th century England, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” And just like Jane Austen, that’s what she writes about, except in Kleypas’ case, the novels are more about assertive women fighting for love matches and independence in a world of marriages of convenience and gender inequality.

Most of her novels are read by Mary Jane Wells, who does all the accents and genders very nicely, although, as always, I would have prefered at least two narrators, for male and female voices, but I enjoyed listening to all of them as they are.

****

Lisa Kleypas’ novels are especially for readers who want an escape from real 21st century life for a few hours, and enjoy historical romance set in Victorian England, with strong-willed female leads who overcome obstacles on their way to a happy marriage. A delightful indulgence!

Lasa Kleypas’s Audible Author Page

Lisa Kleypas’s Scribd author page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks!

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!