Goodreads Book Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5)The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a novella. I’m reading my way through this series and this one is probably my favourite so far. Serena is sitting outside the Duke of Clermont’s residence, not speaking, but not leaving either. Hugo is the Duke’s man and it’s his job to get rid of her. Hugo can be ruthless if he needs to be.

I loved the characters in this book and the respect that grows between them. I’m a sucker for good dialogue and character driven humour and this book has definitely got those. It’s nice to see a romance between two intelligent, well rounded character who both grow by the end of the book.

I read this book in an afternoon and went straight on to read the next in the series. Brilliant.

View all my reviews

Goodreads Book Review: A Man with One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

A Man With One of Those FacesA Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose this book based on the title and the cover, both of which are great. The blurb is about how Paul has one of those nondescript faces which means that people tend to mistake him for someone else quite a lot. It starts off with him offering a service where he visits elderly patients in hospitals and hospices and pretends to be a nephew or a grandson – the patient is happy because they’ve had someone visit and Paul gets to do the charity work that is the prerequisite for him getting his allowance.

This is a crime novel with a twist of comedy running through it. I thought that was quite a refreshing thing to see. The humour is quite dark. The crime side is good too. There’s a decent mystery and a good twist at the end.

Paul’s nondescript-ness doesn’t really play much part in the story after chapter one. Paul is meant to be really intelligent, but you only know that because people tell you so. He doesn’t seem any cleverer than your average chap. Nurse Brigit is much more on the ball. I liked her a lot.
I liked Bunny too. He was interesting and realistic. I probably wouldn’t want to meet him in real life.

There were a lot of secondary character gangsters and crooked cops, whom I tended to lose track of after a while (I read fast and am easily confused, so this might just be me).

All in all, a good fun read, especially if you like combination of crime and dark humour.

View all my reviews

Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on Netflix

Over the Christmas holidays I watched Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on Netflix. It will come as no surprise to you that I loved the books. This is not so much an adaptation as an expansion of the Gently-verse. I LOVED it. I wrote a review for the fabulous Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog (whose comments section is the closest thing I’ve found to ‘my tribe’). You can read the review here: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/guest-squee-dirk-gentlys-holistic-detective-agency/

In the meantime, here’s one of the trailers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TNXaCBAjpo

 

 

Goodreads book review: The Velvet Cloak of Midnight by Christina Courtenay

The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight (Shadows from the Past #4)The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight by Christina Courtenay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve just realised I hadn’t reviewed this book. I finished it weeks ago, so my memory is already fading. (This is why I joined Goodreads – to keep track of what I read!)

This is a lovely story. It’s time slip/ ghost story. Sometimes, in time slips one of the stories over shadows the other (usually the one in the past is the more compelling one). In this case, both stories are equally compelling. I liked that a lot. All the characters were interesting and I really cared for them.
Now I want to go visit Raglan Castle!

Usual disclaimer – I write for the same publisher as Christina Courtenay. I received a free copy via Netgalley.

View all my reviews

Goodreads book review: Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

Carpe Demon (Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, #1)Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up after hearing Julie Kenner talking about it on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast. Demon Hunting Soccer Mom. I love the idea!

Kate Connor is a retired demon hunter, but there’s a whole load of demons around and SOMEONE has to do something about it. Turns out that someone is Kate.
I like the juxtaposition between domesticity/ parenthood and the drama of demon fighting. It’s a good, light hearted read. I figured out who the baddie was (and the thing about Eddie and holy water) relatively early, but it was still good fun.

I dithered about giving this four stars because I love the premise so much, but ended up with 3 instead because I picked up the second book (I bought a box set) and thought… not right now, thanks. Is there a 3.5 stars option? No? Ah… okay then.

Brilliant premise. Good fun read.

View all my reviews

Goodreads book review: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat!The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat! by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up because it’s a Sue Moorcroft book. I tend to read anything she releases!

Ava Bliss makes couture hats. She’s fiercely independent (to the point of irritating people ). She’s also being threatened with porn bombing by her sleazy, creepy ex. The ex is a total douchbag, but seems almost a different person when sober, so you can see what Ava saw in him at first. A lot of the book deals with the all too familiar threat of porn bombing – specially, pointing out that the victim did nothing wrong by posing for someone they trusted. This is likely to be thing that stops people from getting help, so it was good to see it tackled head on like this.

Issues aside, it’s a lovely story about an independent woman struggling to make a success of her business and a man who is trying very hard to be a good son. The relationship between Sam and his mother is beautiful. I dare you to read it without melting.

The celebs who walk into the story are brilliant (and realistic).

I live in a town where there’s a race course and lots of hat shops, but I’d never stopped to think about hats and the people who make them. I learned a lot about hats through reading this book. I’ll look at those hat displays with new understanding now!

All in all a lovely, festive story. My thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the review copy of the book.

View all my reviews

Goodreads Book review: Falling by Julie Cohen

FallingFalling by Julie Cohen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I saw this book up on Netgalley, I grabbed it because I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Julie Cohen book. This is what I call a ‘burning dinner’ sort of book – one I couldn’t bear to put down for very long, so I end up reading it while stirring things on the hob. It’s lovely!

Jo is struggling to keep everything going. She is a really, really nice person and tries to help everybody. But somewhere inside, she’s still getting over the death of her first husband. Her second husband’s betrayal seems almost an incidental annoyance compared to how much she feels about her first husband. I sympathised with Jo, especially when it came to the bits where the kids were going nuts. Oh yes.

Lydia is in love with her best friend and can’t come out about her sexuality without risking losing her best friend. She’s about to sit her exams too, so the pressure is really on. The high pressure environment of school and the casual cruelty of teenagers was really well captured. Lydia was a fantastic character.

Honour was my favourite. She’s old, cantankerous and fiercely independent. The way she treated Jo at the start was shocking, but she mellowed wonderfully as the story progressed. She was wonderful. When I grow old, I totally want to be as fiery as Honour (although, maybe not as rude!)

This is a wonderful book about how we orbit each other, trapped in our little worlds without really understanding what other people are going through. I especially liked that Jo and Honour were in-laws, because it was different to a mother-daughter relationship (whilst also being fairly similar to a mother-daughter relationship in so many ways).

This is a wonderful book. Go buy it.
(I received a free copy from Netgalley, in return for an honest review)

View all my reviews

Book review: Falling by Julie Cohen

FallingFalling by Julie Cohen  (In the US it’s called After the Fall)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I saw this book up on Netgalley, I grabbed it because I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Julie Cohen book. This is what I call a ‘burning dinner’ sort of book – one I couldn’t bear to put down for very long, so I end up reading it while stirring things on the hob. It’s lovely!

Jo is struggling to keep everything going. She is a really, really nice person and tries to help everybody. But somewhere inside, she’s still getting over the death of her first husband. Her second husband’s betrayal seems almost an incidental annoyance compared to how much she feels about her first husband. I sympathised with Jo, especially when it came to the bits where the kids were going nuts. Oh yes.

Lydia is in love with her best friend and can’t come out about her sexuality without risking losing her best friend. She’s about to sit her exams too, so the pressure is really on. The high pressure environment of school and the casual cruelty of teenagers was really well captured. Lydia was a fantastic character.

Honour was my favourite. She’s old, cantankerous and fiercely independent. The way she treated Jo at the start was shocking, but she mellowed wonderfully as the story progressed. She was wonderful. When I grow old, I totally want to be as fiery as Honour (although, maybe not as rude!)

This is a wonderful book about how we orbit each other, trapped in our little worlds without really understanding what other people are going through. I especially liked that Jo and Honour were in-laws, because it was different to a mother-daughter relationship (whilst also being fairly similar to a mother-daughter relationship in so many ways).

This is a wonderful book. Go buy it.
(I received a free copy from Netgalley, in return for an honest review)

Buy link UK

Buy link US (After the Fall)

Goodreads Book Review: Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe by Milly Johnson

The Woman Who Gave Up ChocolateThe Woman Who Gave Up Chocolate by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up after hearing Milly Johnson give a hilariously funny speech. I figured if she was that funny in real life, her books were worth a shot.

The story follows three (possibly four, if you count Ivanka) women – Della, Connie and Cheryl, all of whom are connected to the Diamond Shine cleaning company. It’s set in Barnsley and the Yorkshire accents took me right back to my teenage years in W Yorks.

An awful lot happens in the story, you’ll have to read and find out what. What stood out for me was the warmth of the writing. There was one scene where the ladies are all gathered in the Sunflower Cafe, where you could really feel the connection between them. It made me feel included and loved, as though I were one of them. It’s a rare book that achieves that!

The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars was that there was a bit of changing heads mid scene, which annoys me (I’m a bear of very little brain and get confused). If you don’t mind that, I know most people don’t, then you’ll be fine. Go. Enjoy.

View all my reviews