Review of The White Cross.

When I was offered this book for review I was warned about the swearing in it.  Swearing does not bother me but if anyone is going to read this book, be warned, there is a lot of swearing right from the start.

This book promises to be a whole new reading experience for readers, colourful and descriptive – it certainly is that.

The story centres around the times of the crusades that Richard The Lionheart led.  The point of view is varied throughout the book – you can be forgiven if you do get a little confused as there are so many different points of view.  At the heart of this book is the story of Garon and Elise, Garon is a knight and Elise is a lady who he marries.  A lot of the book does deal with Garon’s time overseas fighting the Saracens and some of it can make for depressing reading – depending on your own outlook.  I think that the author has gone to a great deal of trouble to be as descriptive as possible in the book – something he certainly achieved.

I was not entirely sure I would enjoy this book, it is not the usual kind of book I read, but it was not a bad read at all.  The plot was interesting, even in the parts I found depressing, and well written.  It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like historical reads with a twist then this is definitely worth your time.

Recommended.  4 stars ****

Review of Stranded

This book is part of the Alaskan Courage series.

I started reading this book at 11 p.m. last night and stayed up until after 2 a.m. to finish it!  I was so intrigued by the drama that was unfolding I just had to see it through in one sitting.

The book focuses on Darcy St. James who is an investigative journalist and has joined a cruise ship at the request of her good friend Abby.  Abby is undercover – also a journalist – as she has a story to uncover on board the cruise ship.  Abby goes missing and the book follows Darcy as she investigates the goings on behind Abby’s disappearance.  She teams up with Gage, a guy she met five months earlier – I do not know if these characters are in the previous books in this series as I haven’t read them – when she was helping out on an investigation for Gage’s family.

There is definitely chemistry between Darcy and Gage but he has a broken heart because his son died and he also got hurt by his ex, a lawyer who uses people to get her own way.  He tends to lump Darcy into that category too, although she has tried to make him see that she isn’t like that.  He is very untrusting of her, especially as her job requires that she is quite deceitful about her identity and that she also uses people to find out what she needs to know for her story.

The book is pretty action-packed and the reader is compelled to read on to find out what will happen next.  I found I could not put the book down!

Well worth a read and highly recommended.

5 stars *****

Feeding The Fire Review.

Feeding The Fire is a lovely book.  I loved the idea of the heroine and hero getting together behind their families’ backs because of a longstanding feud.

Pepper wins Grant at a Valentine’s Day auction, but Pepper did not really want to win Grant.  Somehow she inadvertently placed a bid on him – with a little help from his Grandmother – and now she has won a date with him.  Pepper and Grant had a fling a while back but now she just wants to forget all about him, but he is keen to pursue her.  Instead of the traditional type of date Grant decides to do something rather different to try to help Pepper out.  He knows she is fixing her house up and knows that the money she had saved up for that accidentally got used for the bid.  He decides to do what he can to help her fix up her house, enlisting the help of some of his colleagues at the fire station.

The course of true love does not run smoothly and Grant has to fight to win Pepper over.

This is the second installment in the Rosewood series and is an enjoyable read.

Recommended.  5 stars *****

Take A Look At Me Now.

It took me quite sometime to get into this book.  The Nell who worked in the Council offices rubbed me up the wrong way and at first I could not tolerate her.  But then Nell went off to San Francisco and the character changed and I found myself really liking her.  By the time I had finished reading this book I really liked Nell and was routing for her.

The story is about Nell, who, at the start of the book, works in a council office.  Her character felt really annoying to me and I didn’t relate to her at all.  She has an on/off relationship with Aidan, who also works at the council.  Aidan indicates one morning that he wants to see her in private and Nell is convinced that he wants to get back with her.  She tells her best friend Vicky about Aidan wanting to see her – Vicky also works at the council.

But Aidan does not ask Nell to get back involved with him, instead he tips her off that the council are about to make people in the department redundant.  He asks her to keep quiet as the announcement is imminent and those involved are about to find out anyway.  Nell hates having to keep quiet but she has promised she will stay quiet.

Nell leaves work after the shocking meeting, where half of the staff are paid off.  She ends up in an estate agent and uses most of her redundancy money to fund a trip to San Francisco.  Her cousin Lizzie lives there and Nell cheekily asks to use the phone to contact Lizzie to arrange for her to stay with her for the duration of her stay.

As she is broke she has to move back home to her parents’ place just before she jets off to America.  Aidan is desperately trying to get in touch with her, trying to win her back despite being the one who tips her off about losing her job whilst he got to keep his.  Nell feels betrayed by him so ignores all of his messages and emails.  She goes off to San Francisco confused and very much disheartened with her life.

San Francisco is a revelation for her and as a character Nell becomes nicer and more relatable, well, for me anyway.  The story has a wonderful depth to it once we follow Nell to San Francisco.  In fact, the story is very enjoyable once we get to San Francisco and I went from not being sure at all about the book to absolutely loving it!

I loved how the writer changed the character once she was away from England.  I did worry that I would dislike Nell once more when she returned but it seemed San Francisco changed her and she certainly did not revert back to the Nell we first get introduced to.

This is a wonderful story, full of engaging characters  – some you will like, others you will hate – and a very good description of the sights of San Francisco.  I did not expect to like the story but once Nell had left England I enjoyed it so much.  It is very well written and very well researched.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

Definitely recommended.  5 stars *****

Review of The Vicar’s Wife.

I rather enjoyed reading this book as it is set in my neck of the woods.  I felt I could identify with Jane really well; Cumbria can feel very isolated and lacking in things to do for entertainment, especially if you re used to a big city – especially somewhere like New York!

The book centres around Jane and her family as they move from New York to a remote village in Cumbria.  Their eldest, Natalie, has fallen in with the wrong crowd in New York and found herself in trouble.  Jane and her husband, Andrew, decide to relocate to the other side of the world as a way of dealing with Natalie’s troubles.  Naturally the eldest two children – both teenagers – hate their new place, but their youngest daughter, Merrie, loves it and has no trouble in making new friends.

With Andrew out at work all day and the kids at school Jane feels the isolation the most.  She decides to stop feeling sorry for herself and sets about getting their house in some kind of order.  This is when she finds an old shopping list from the 1930’s.  The shopping list intrigues her and she seeks out the local vicar – the house they are living in now was once the vicarage – to see if he can shed any light on who the list belonged to.

The story runs back and forth between Jane in the present day and Alice, who was married to the local vicar back in the 1930’s.  The tale is intriguing and held my interest very well, especially Alice’s story.  I felt annoyed with Jane on a couple of occasions, especially when she seemed to only care about her own happiness.  But it all came good and I loved the ending.

I would recommend this book and give it 5 stars *****