My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Title: The Bookshop of Second Chances
Author: Jackie Fraser
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date: May 4, 2021
Thea Mottram is having a bad month. Her husband of nearly twenty years has just left her for one of her friends, and she is let go from her office job–on Valentine’s Day, of all days. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.
Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and shaggy, tulip-covered lawn. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can’t seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle’s antique novel collection. His gruff attitude–fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord–tests Thea’s patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn’t felt in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.
I have read this book twice now and I have to say it was even better the second time. I liked it so much that I changed my 4-star to a 5-star review. I rarely give books a 5-star and never to an author I have never read before.
Obviously, I loved this book. It is a romance, but more than that it is a description of a woman’s recovery after having life kick her in the teeth. As the description says, Thea loses her job and her husband (the rat bastard) in a matter of weeks.
What she doesn’t know is that it will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.
She inherits a house from a great-uncle that she has only met four times. She can’t understand why it was left to her instead of a closer family member. Her uncle explains why in the will.
And this is why I love this book. It has the best lines in it. I could have done an entire review of just great lines. I won’t, but I will include this one.
Uncle Andrew states he left the house to Thea “whom I have only met on four occasions, but who each time was intent on reading rather than talking, which has always been my own preference.”
Since I feel the same way, this really appealed to me.
Anyway, she meets a man who’s a “right arse.” Everyone says so, even him. Fortunately, she just finds him amusing. Of course, she falls for him. I’m not giving anything away. It’s a romance after all, right?
There is no great mystery or secrets to be discovered. This is a book about relationships and is hysterically funny in places. I did have to Google a few terms because I am from the United States and this book is very British. I didn’t always get the slang.
I just have to say, “brown sauce” does not sound at all appealing.
I’ve already recommended this book to friends and my local librarian. It is truly a fun book to read.
This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Tag Archives: Romance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Title: Secret Sisters
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Date: December 8, 2015
Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.
They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother’s hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn’t be bothering them anymore…ever. Still their lives would never be the same.
Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother’s mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.
Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts…and wants.
Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack’s brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth….
I have been a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz’s books since I discovered her as Stephanie James. People, we’re talking about the early 1980s, so I have been reading her books for over thirty years. In my world, release day is reading day and it does not matter what else is going on: another book, work, Christmas, nothing! If there is a new Jayne Ann Krentz book out, everything stops. I have to read it now.
So, why did I not jump on this book as soon as I received an advanced copy? I must have had it two or three weeks before I actually read it. Yes, I had other books I was reading, but that has never made a difference in the past. Why this time?
I’ll tell you why. The descriptions I read made it seem like she was trying something different with her writing and I did not want anything different. Krentz is a wonderful author whether she is writing historical, contemporary, science fiction . . .
or romantic suspense . . . which is definitely what Secret Sisters is described as being. I just had a really bad feeling that she was making a major change to her writing style and I couldn’t stand it.
And I was WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
The book is wonderful. Yes, it is romantic suspense and there is a strong mystery (or maybe more than one), but the romance is integral to the plot. It is more intense than some of her books, but it is not dark. It starts out with a bang and then jumps almost twenty years, but that’s okay. It works with this book.
Secret Sisters is primarily a murder mystery and involves the leading family of an isolated island in the Pacific Northwest. The family consists a possibly violent, arrogant, womanizing husband, his long suffering wife, two sons, and a daughter-in-law. Every time I was sure who the “bad guy” was, the plot took a twist. Nothing from left field, just nothing I expected.
In other words, the plot kept me engrossed. I never did figure out the end until the end.
The good guys were likable. The bad guys were NOT. Even the secondary characters felt well developed.
All of my fears were for nothing. Secret Sisters is a step above and beyond Krentz’s other writing and I did not think there was room for improvement.
My only problem is it appears to be a stand alone and I would have enjoyed learning more about the characters in this book. Maybe she’ll give us more of their story later on.
This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Title: 1001 Islands
Author: K. T. Munson
Date: July 27, 2015
The sliver of moonlight cast eerie shadows across the deck of The Dark Revenge. The Silence at the helm stood embracing the obscurity. His foreboding presence matched the anticipation aboard the ship, and no one spoke for fear they would break the stillness that encompassed them.
Tonight, everything changed.
The Dark Revenge gained on the Regatta. The raiders said nothing but he could hear the shuffle of taut female clothing and the tension in the air. It hadn’t sensed their existence, and drifted like heedless prey. Princess Roxana slept, unsuspecting of what was hunting her in the inky blackness of the night.
There was only one thing on the minds of The Silence’s crew as they drew near; Hang the Kings, Crown the People.
My opinion of this book changed throughout the reading. At first I didn’t care for it simply because each of the beginning chapters focussed on a different character/situation. I figured they would all come together eventually, but I still found it confusing. I didn’t like the feeling that I need to be taking notes to keep everyone straight.
However, when the plots did come together, it was wonderful. I really liked all of the “good guys” and the “bad guys” all came to a bad end (pun intended). The female characters were strong even if they had been taught they were not supposed to be. The male characters were also strong, but not obnoxious with it. At least, the good guys weren’t.
There was a plot twist in the character’s roles that I did not see coming and I really appreciated. It made perfect sense once it became apparent, but I was totally blindsided up until the reveal.
It’s hard to define the genre. It’s definitely science fiction because it takes place on another planet . . . or is it just another world, one where witches and elementals exist which would make it fantasy? It’s almost historical because of the methods of travel and way of life of the characters. It is definitely an adventure novel (there are pirates after all) with a little bit of romance thrown in.
Like I said, it’s hard to define.
What it is though is good. I enjoyed reading it. I liked the protagonists. I like the way the plot worked out for everyone.
But, . . .
the ending is abrupt . . .
and the author acknowledges that in the notes. She said there is a possibility of further adventures which is all well and good,
but . . .
I don’t like to be left hanging and it reduced my enjoyment of the book.
Read it. The ending is not a cliffhanger; it just doesn’t go far enough to suit me.
This book was sent to me by the author in return for an honest review.