Interesting Tale Told In Unconventional Manner. I mean, come on, how often do you get a dual timeline tale with two women – both alive in the past, but one now dead and yet still telling her tale – where both women feature in both timelines? I’ve read a LOT of books over the past few years alone, and I can probably count on one hand – *maybe* both of them – the number of times I’ve come across a remotely similar dynamic. So read the book for that alone, as Hepworth makes it work quite well.
The rest of the tale, about both of these women’s love for their husbands and the lengths they will go through to save and protect both their husbands and their marriages, is interesting enough to be readable, but for some reason it just didn’t hit me as hard as Hepworth’s prior works. There was never a real sense of “I *must* know what happens next!”, though the ending was quite beautiful in and of itself, and yes, even if you’re struggling with the book, you need to read it to get the full beauty of what happens there. Overall, as noted, an interesting tale unconventionally told. Recommended.
This review of The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth was originally written on November 2, 2022.
Solid Tomboy Romance. And because it *is* a romance… yes, a wedding is mentioned late in the book, and because this is set in Australia it is a “spring” wedding… in October. Which feels weird to this reader who has never been South of the Equator – nor even within 1,000 miles of it. 😀 Otherwise a fun take on the tomboy / enemies to lovers idea where he is a corporate tycoon out to build mansions on the property that meant so much to her as a kid but which her mother recently sold off. This is something I personally identified with a bit, having grown up with a small 3 acre lake outside of Atlanta being owned by my grandfather’s family before my mother’s cousins sold it off in my early 20s after both my grandfather and his twin brother died. So seeing Gemma be able to fight to save any piece of “her spot” was pretty awesome for me. Overall a fun book and on the quick/ short side at right around 200 pages, this one is a solid introduction to Marsh’s romance books for those who are new to her while also being a satisfying one for long time fans. Very much recommended.
This review of Not The Romantic Kind by Nicola Marsh was originally written on January 14, 2022.
S L O W Mystery. This is one of those books that takes F O R E V E R to really build out its mystery – but once it finally gets there, it is quite explosive indeed. Instead, this is almost more of a small town character study of a woman coming back to her smalltown hometown with her tail between her legs and having to rebuild her life… who then accidentally stumbles onto new evidence that perhaps her past isn’t what everyone thought it was. So the first half ish of the book is much more character study driven, with the back half being more of a slow-normal paced mystery. The setting was interesting too, but could have been set in a wide variety of regions with little other change, so it didn’t quite work as well as it arguably could have. Still, a worthy and recommended read.
This review of A Little Bird by Wendy James was originally written on November 5, 2021.
Snarky Romance Reads Shorter Than Its Actual Length. This is one of those fun, snarky, steamy – yes, there are numerous sex scenes, for those that care either way about such things – romances that doesn’t quite work as a true “enemies to lovers”, since the initial fight is more a miscommunication when these two characters – both introduced in 2020’s The Boy Toy – first meet up in the aftermath of that tale. It officially clocks in at around 350 pages, but Marsh keeps the tale pulsing along so well that this reader never really noticed the actual length and indeed by the end the book feels much shorter. For technically being a Book 2, this is also a fairly loosely coupled “series” – yes, these characters are introduced in the first book, and yes, the first book’s primary couple (and another character or two) appear in this book, but neither is truly dependent on the other and each totally work fine as standalones in a shared universe as well. Overall a fun book, maybe not an “end of summer” book but definitely a fun, summery feel. Very much recommended.
This review of The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh was originally written on June 29, 2021.
BFP! Curtis Hamsworth! Fans of creature movies (you know, the ones with only a survivor or two – if any – after the creature(s) rampage) and/ or Jurassic Park are going to love this particular book. Set within Woods’ ever-expanding Maddock universe, you don’t have to have any prior experience with that world to have one hell of an awesome time with this romp through the rainforests of northern Australia. Part Jurassic Park, part creature feature ala Deep Blue Sea or Anaconda, and filled with enough adventure and even laughs to bring down a … well, a Big Fucking Predator, this is simply a fun diversion from the “real” world that will leave you breathless… and wanting more. Indeed, the only quibble I have with this thing is the not-very-veiled shots at Sea World – and yet even then, the point *is* (eventually) made of just how much money comes to conservation efforts because of Sea World and similar parks. (Which is my ultimate real world point about such parks.) Beyond that particular sporadic commentary though, truly an amazing ride that will have you forgetting the “real” world for a few hours. And really, isn’t that all any of us can ask for these days? 🙂 Very much recommended.
This review of Crocaplyse by David Wood was originally written on April 3, 2021.
Funny With Heart. This is one of those Hallmarkie type romances with a lot of humor and some mild ish angst. The humor is broad enough to cross cultures (being set in Australia and written by an Australian, even this American reader thought it was hilarious at times 🙂 ) and the drama/ angst was of a type that most any adult can identify with nearly all of it, between career and personal issues. I sound a bit repetitive right now with noting that this is a great escape for a couple of hours in nearly every review I write this week, but hey, sometimes you just get in a mode where you really need the escape, and this really does work for that. 😀 So if you’re looking for a fun, mostly light romance that still tackles some pretty tough subjects, you’re gonna wanna read this book. If you’re just looking for *any* book that can take your mind off the “real” world for a couple of hours, give this one a chance. And if you have kids of your own and only have a very limited amount of reading time… this one is near perfect, as it is a fairly short read (under 200 pages) to boot! Very much recommended.
This review of My Own Personal Rockstar by Kirsty McManus was originally written on January 7, 2021.
Fun And Quirky Christmas Romance. This one has most of the makings of a Hallmark Christmas movie, if you toss in the “international travel” to a small town bit. Lots of self exploration when tossed into a new environment with ulterior motives. Lots of “Hemsworth brother”-esque swoony surfer dude. Lots of interference from the quirky grandmother. And a touch of drama on the existing relationship and job front. In other words, pretty well all of the ingredients of a classic Hallmark Christmas movie, and yes, this one qualifies as “sweet”, for those that care about such things. No cursing, and while masturbation is mentioned, not even that – much less any interpersonal stuff beyond a kiss – is shown. Very much recommended.
This review of A Christmas Rescue by Kirsty McManus and Diane Michaels was originally written on October 10, 2020.