#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Girl He used to Know’ and ‘On the Island’ by Tracey Garvis Graves #BookReview #Romance

Today I’m reviewing two novels by Tracey Garvis Graves, whose debut novel, On the Island (2012) spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. I read the novel earlier this year and I enjoyed it so much that I also bought her second novel, The Girl He Used To Know (2019), which I enjoyed even more! Her books are romantic, but the romantic couples have highly problematic relationships, so there’s plenty of angst, before we get to the happy ending! Which is fine by me, I quite like some authentic, controversial and thought-provoking, romantic turmoil.

On The Island by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day.

T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn’t bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man…

****

My Review

This novel starts with a bang until they reach the island, and then it slows down, as the unlikely couple are stranded on a desert island for literally years, and in the meantime, the teenager becomes a man and they fall in love.

Their time on the island is at first traumatic. They both experience illness, hardship and emotional anguish due to the isolation and harshness of a life with no amenities at all. Their situation is challenging and it’s very well described. I felt claustrophobic on the island too! Their love helps them get through the worst, but is it real, or is it a product of their unique situation? 

The next part of the novel, back in civilisation brings even more challenges. They’ve broken too many rules and taboos and their family and society’s demands strains their relationship to breaking point, more than once.

The difficulties they face and the way in which they gradually overcome the negative forces around them, as well their own  traumas, was nerve-racking, although we’re ultimately given a believable and happy ending, no spoiler there, because it’s the way they reach their happy ending that concerns readers of romantic fiction.

The characters grow in age and evolve emotionally throughout the novel, and their love is constantly tested. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end, which I admit I love! 

****

The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.


My Review

I loved this novel, so much. There was plenty of angst, too, but Annika was so easy to love. She reminded me of other heroines on the spectrum, such as Eleanor Oliphant, which I loved and reviewed here, another favourite which I reviewed here, The Cactus, and The wonderful,  Kiss Quotient, reviewed here.   

The Girl He Used to Know is a heartbreaking and uplifting second chance romance. Annika is an unusual, loveable heroine, who faces many challenges due to her brutal honesty and lack of social skills, which Jonathan finds it hard to cope with, in spite of his efforts. Johnathan is a worthy hero, but there are heartbreaking pitfalls to their happy ending. The story is told from both characters’ first person point of view, so we get to understand the characters as if we knew them intimately.

Especially for readers who enjoy uplifting romantic novels with plenty of angst and complex characters.

****

 

 

 

#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 ‘The Missing Wife’ #BookReview by Sheila O’Flanagan #amreading

Today on #TuesdayBookBlog I’m reviewing The Missing Wife, suspenseful, contemporary women’s fiction by Sheila O’Flanagan.

My Review

One day, insecure and shy Imogen vanishes into thin air without a trace. Everyone is shocked, especially her doting husband. Nobody knows where she is or why she has gone, but Imogen has a plan. As the novel unfolds, we gradually discover why she left and where she’s going.

Imogen embarks on a journey of self-discovery and liberation. I don’t want to include spoilers, so I’ll just say it was easy to sympathise with Imogen’s need to break away and go back to understand her past searching for answers to her present predicament and as a way towards her future. Drama unfolds as she finds out the truth about her past and starts to live a new life,  but not everyone is willing to let her move on.

Various family dramas unfold and eventually collide in the end when Imogen will have to decide who she is and where she wants to be, and prove to herself that she’s strong enough and ready to move forward on her own.

I enjoyed reading about Imogen’s geographical and emotional journey of self discovery. In spite of some very unpleasant events and circumstances occurring throughout her life, on the whole it was a feel-good read and an  optimistic take on a very dark family drama.

UK buy Link.

US Buy Link.

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

Check out Luccia Gray’s other reviews.

Check out Luccia Gray’s reviews on amazon

#FridayBookShare ‘The Ladies’ Room’ by Carolyn Brown

#FridayBookShare was created by Shelley Wilson for book lovers to share what they’re reading. The idea is to answer a few simple questions about the novel and post on Fridays.

friday-book-share

Today, I’d like to share The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown.

I can’t remember how I came across this book, but I was impressed when I saw it had over 8,000 reviews on amazon.com, and after reading it, I can understand why. It’s a fabulous novel.  

First line of the book.

If I wiggled again, Great-aunt Gert was going to sit straight up in that pale pin coffin and give me an evil glare the way she used to when I was a child and couldn’t sit still in church.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Secrets told in the church ladies’ room are supposed to stay in the ladies’ room. But that doesn’t mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude’s funeral won’t change the rest of her life.

Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion, a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life, and a mother with Alzheimer’s residing in the local nursing home. She doesn’t really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That’s fine with Billy Lee, because he’s been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he’d never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies’ room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

Introduce the main character using only three words.

I’m afraid I need six words today! Trudy starts off by being gullible, good natured,  and submissive, but as the novel progresses, she becomes assertive, brutally honest, and courageous.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

ladies-room

 

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Anyone who likes a contemporary family drama with plenty of heartache, which is also humorous, romantic and uplifting.

Your favourite line/scene.

Everything happens as a result of Trudy accidentally overhearing a conversation by two of her spiteful cousins, while she’s in the ladies’ room. This is what happens after she leaves.

****

I walked out of the ladies’ room with my shoulders straight and a fake smile on my face. A lady kept up appearances and never lost her dignity—even when her world had just shattered around her in the stall of the women’s bathroom.

Marty, Betsy, and I were required to ride together in the limousine to the cemetery for the final bit of the service. They were whispering when I crawled inside. At least the fat escaping through the hole in my panty hose reminded me that I had a murder weapon at hand. I could strangle them and then shove half my Snickers bar into each of their mouths after they were dead and swear they’d both choked to death while weeping for Great-aunt Gert. No one would doubt frumpy old Trudy’s word.

“How you holdin’ up?” Marty asked.

“I’m just fine,” I told her.

“Well, you look like warmed-over sin,” Betsy said.

“And you look absolutely beautiful,” I said sarcastically.

****

See my full review here on amazon.

wp-1487334859922.jpg