Book review: Warwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

Warwick's MermaidWarwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sweet romance set in Whitby. Chloe is recovering after escaping an abusive relationship. Arguably, her relationship with her mother is also bordering on abusive, but in a very different way. She’s rented a cottage on one side of an isolated bay.
Luke has rented the cottage on the other side of the bay.
There’s a good amount of intrigue and angst and romance. It’s a gentle, sweet read.
[And I love the title!]

Buy Link UK: Warwick’s Mermaid
Buy Link US: Warwick’s Mermaid

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Book Review: Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

Acute Reactions (Practice Perfect, #1)Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book as part of a box set of beta hero books from Crimson Romance. There is so much about it that I loved.
First of all there’s Petra – she’s competent, smart and prone to overthinking things and tying herself in knots about it. Then there’s Ian who is hardworking and caring and generally lovely – also, allergic to cats.
It’s cute and romantic. There’s a fair bit of ethnic diversity (unobtrusively delivered). There’s a great cast of secondary characters too. Including a teenager really funny called Kevin.

I really, really enjoyed this book. To be honest, any book that has ‘the man with allergies never gets the girl’ is was always going to be catnip for me!

Buy Link Amazon UK:Acute Reactions (Practice Perfect)

Buy link Amazon US (this is for a ‘box set’ of all three books in the series): Practice Perfect: The Complete Series

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Book review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was incredible. I put off reading it for ages because everyone was talking about it and I thought ‘it can’t possibly be as good as the hype’. Turned out I was wrong about that!

Firstly, it gave me a window into a world that I knew very little about.
Secondly, it was powerful. Sharp, to the point and clear in its description.

The most moving scene for me was the one where the family sit down to watch a game on TV. The thing that hit home was how normal is all seemed. Something happens to disrupt this, but until then, they are just like any other family – winding each other up, laughing and squabbling.

I learned a lot about black history. Coincidentally, my kids have recently started watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which gets mentioned a lot in the book. There was a sense of fortuitous synergy there.

Overall, I loved this book. It made me feel the same way as I did when I read The Outsiders or watched Philadelphia. It made me see a world I didn’t know about and linked it to things I could understand. This is important. We view the world through out own experience. If a book can connect someone else’s world experience to ours and make us understand that basic humanity remains the same no matter where you are, then that’s a valuable gift to the world.

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Buy link The Hate U Give: The Book Everyone’s Talking About
Buy link The Hate U Give: The Book Everyone’s Talking About

Guest post on SmartBitches about Dirk Gently

You may remember that I ADORED the first series of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on Netflix. Season 2 came out at the end of last year and I raced through it. I’m having a good old squee about it on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books site. Go read.

If you want to see the trailer, here it is on YouTube. Welcome to Bergsberg.


Book review: Living In The Past by Jane Lovering

Living in the Past (Choc Lit)Living in the Past by Jane Lovering

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grace is grieving, two years after her husband died. Her friend Tabitha persuades her to volunteer at an archaeological dig in North Yorkshire. When going for a walk in the area, she finds herself in a bronze age settlement. The very settlement that grumpy Scot and dig director Duncan McDonald is looking for with this dig. But Duncan has his own ghosts from the past – years ago, his girlfriend disappeared in this area and the police suspect him of having something to do with it.

The Bronze age storyline is about Tor and Hen. Tor is the leader of the small settlement, a man who protects the women and children in his care. Lady Hen is the medicine woman, who protects the same people, but in a different way. When Grace wanders into their time frame, things start to go wrong.

This book is ostensibly about a time slip (and mud, there’s a lot about mud), but it’s also about grief and letting go of the things that nag at you over the years. It’s about the importance of knowing and understanding what happened (Closure, if you like).

Grace is brilliantly prickly. I love how sarcastic she is. Duncan is grumpy and muddy and out of touch with social niceties. He’s quite sweet. You wouldn’t think a book about two prickly people sliding around on a muddy hillside would be this absorbing and entertaining, but it is.

I really enjoyed this book. I even liked the mud.

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Buy link Living in the Past (Choc Lit)

Buy link Living in the Past (Choc Lit)

Book review: The Heights by Juliet Bell

The heightsThe heights by Juliet Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A retelling of Wuthering Heights set in the 1980s during the Miner’s Strike. I studied Wuthering Heights at A-level, so I was curious to see how this went.
It was wonderful. For the first few chapters, I kept trying to link back to the characters in the original – Lockwood is a detective who has a hunch about Heathcliff, ‘Nellie’ Dean is a social worker etc, but after a while I stopped bothering and just got caught up in the story. I stayed up until silly o’clock in the morning to finish it … even though I knew what was coming!

The story retains the dark, compelling feel of the original. The characters are as depressing and horrible as they were, but with slightly more modern sensibilities. The amount of death, which would have been less unusual 200 years ago, is unusual even in 1980s Yorkshire, and DCI Lockwood’s obsession with the family and the unusually high death rate addresses that. As with the original, the setting is an active character in story, with the blue hill always looming in the background in more ways than one.

This is a story of obsession and revenge. It would have been nice for DCI Lockwood to have found Heathcliff guilty of something, but that would change the ending from the original (and I would have been enraged!), so the small resolution at the end was the best there could be. I liked the small lilt of hope at the end too.

Overall, this is a great adaptation of a classic. I loved it.

Disclaimer: I got a a review copy from Netgalley (thank you!). I know the authors as we are all members of the Romantic Novelists Association.

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Buy on The Heights: A gripping modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights

Buy on The Heights: A gripping modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights

Book review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book. It’s a cute NA romance about career focused coder and hopeless romantic Rishi.
I sometimes go on about diversity in fiction and this is exactly the sort of thing I go on about. It’s a lovely, quirky romance about a coding geek who meets a comic book geek. Dimple is serious, intense and completely focused on her goal of getting her app made. Rishi is courteous, charming and the quintessential dutiful son. They are both Indian, but they are also realistic and compelling characters without slipping into stereotypes. I was really invested in them and desperately wanted them to have their happy ending. When it came, I was grinning.

This is a fantastic book. Sweet, funny and moving.

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Do romance heroines have to be ‘nice’?

Continuing on my tour of blogs – today I’ve over at Short Book and Scribes, talking about the ‘unlikable’ heroine. I don’t find Olivia in Girl In Trouble particularly unlikable, but she’s not your kooky, clutzy, oh-so-nice girl either. She’s outspoken, laddish and confident. I don’t think that precludes her from being liked … or means she can’t have a happy ending. Do you?

Go check out the post here: