Sunday, 31 August 2014

Kathy May Davies


Hint of Satin



A nice bright cover that shouted women's fiction. The only thing that ruined it for me was the tweed cap. It didn't match the 'satin' in the title or material at the bottom of the cover. I'd have liked to see her hair for a more sophisticated look--but, hey, maybe she's a tomboy!


3/5
The title Hint of Satin has an erotic feel to it, and I'm wondering what I'm about to read. The blurb, however, indicated mystery crossed with a bit of horror. 

The first paragraph of the blurb is excellent, but then the  second paragraph contradicts it all and ruins it. 

First paragraph: she 'finds herself in a house with strangers and then the lights go out'. Second: as a taxi driver Lee is safer driving the streets of Texas 'than being with her two new acquaintances who are as leery of her as she is of them'.


The 'leery' part undid the strong first paragraph and made the strangers appear like loutish youths, and where I felt the book was going down the erotica route (not a problem if that's what you're after).

The very last line in the paragraph could be perceived as having an error: Hint of Satin has mystery, intrigue and just a tad bit of romance to spice the adventure.The 'tad' and 'bit' mean the same in this context so one or the other should be removed.

The look inside has no acknowledgements or praise to scroll through, which is a bugbear of mine, so I'm thrilled at getting straight into chapter one and into the mind and actions of protagonist Lee (we never find out her last name). 

She's late for her university finals, and when she notices a case on the back seat of her car she takes it in with her rather than leave in in the cab--at this point I couldn't understand if the case belonged to Lee or had been left by a customer (she's a taxi driver, and is a allowed to use the taxi for personal use), but when I read on it becomes apparent that the case had been left by a customer.

So Lee takes the case back to its owner, and disregarding her own safety, enters a house occupied by two strange men, and my interest in this book wanes a little as I expect this is where the 'erotica feel' comes into play, but I'm wrong. Other than a strong sexual attraction between Lee and Blake Stone nothing happens.

Instead, Lee is embroiled in a sinister run and hide from someone trying to kill her. Blake, thinking it's because of him, becomes her protector.Together they set out to find out who is responsible for this reign of terror and the mystery surrounding the case.

So over all, Hint of Satin is a sweet romance, nothing erotic (not even a sex scene!), between two people thrown together in exceptional circumstances.

Lee and Blake are well-rounded characters and both easy to visualise, but the supporting cast (with the exception of Jimmy) appeared cardboard. Secondary characters such as Jennifer and Macho popped up from time to time but added nothing to the story. I felt Macho was only there so Blake had someone to shout at and be the 'formidable' character I felt the author wanted him to be.


Due to the formatting of this book, it is at times, hard to follow. With the changes of POV between Lee and Blake it was difficult to know when a scene or POV change happened, so sometimes I was merrily reading thinking I was in Lee's POV but it was Blakes--and it was the following day!

There wasn't many grammar or spelling errors as such, but there were punctuation errors--mainly missing speech tags or errant commas, so I would suggest a good editor for this novel to correct that and to tighten its structure.

That aside, the book was visual and it did have two very likeable characters who you routed for throughout the book. There were some terrific lines and scenes of intense sexual tension, and even comedy with Blake and Macho as they argued and teased one another.

Hint of Satin had a HEA and it suggested at more to come, maybe they will be a Hint of Satin 2, there was certainly enough intrigue and plot for more with Lee's background history.

Kathy May Davies is an author who can only grow and get better. Hint of Satin has lifelike characters embroiled in intrigue and sweet romantic moments.

Blurb:
Taxi driver and student, Lee, finds herself in a predicament that could be sinister - in the same house with an unusually large man and another who wears dark glasses, black clothes and has a scar on his face that very probably runs the length of his torso. She can only guess, of course, but the ragged line is fresh. And then the lights go out.

Driving the streets of San Antonio, Texas is safer than being with her two new acquaintances who are as leery of her as she is of them. But, they need each other to discover why their lives are in danger, or at the very least, which one is the intended target.

Hint of Satin has mystery, intrigue and just a tad bit of romance to spice the adventure.



Monday, 4 August 2014

Successio by Alison Morton


4/5
  Successio
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK


This is the last of the Roma Nova saga. I can't say much about the cover other than it's similar to the last two books, and although I found the covers dull, together they make an impressive collection.

The title Successio, in Latin, means
descent, inheritance, succeeding etc so I think this book could focus on the main protagonist's family life. Maybe the grandmother, Aurelia Mitela (Nonnie), elderly in the last book, has died and Carina inherits? Shall have to read to find out.

The blurb nicely includes a first line hint at the troubles of the previous episodes before drawing me back into Carina's life. The blurb also reinforces my belief that this book will concentrate on troubles brewing in the Mitela household.

The look inside is again (almost) the same as the others--background story--which because I commented on before I shan't do so here.The only difference was the illustration of Carina. A nice touch.

Straight into the review of the story...

The beginning hinted at friction between Carina and her stepdaughter, Stella, which was nicely done. Nothing heavy handed. Then Conrad received a mysterious letter where Carina, instead of asking him about its contents, decided to be sneaky and follow him.I've always come away feeling that Conrad and Carina aren't a strong match for one another. They seem to mistrust the other, and in Book 1 and 2 I felt it was because he'd picked up on the sexual spark between Carina and Apollodorus--maybe he'll just never forgive her. Maybe I read too many romances!

Anyway, instead of asking her husband what the hell is going on Carina follows him and discovers he has a daughter from a past relationship laying claim to his affections. Nicola Sandbrook is resentful of Conrad's other family (Carina and her children) but worse, she is now the heir to the throne after the beloved death of Grandmother Nonnie (I came to love this character, and it was a sad moment when she passed).

Nicola is a nasty, flawed character, and intent on destructing the entire foundations of the Mitela household. She first causes trouble by trying to lead Carina and Conrad's oldest daughter, Allegra, astray, but then settles on Stella (another daughter from Conrad's past) and uses Stella's jealously over her stepmother Carina to worm her way into the Mitela household.

Then her destruction gets steadily worse as Carina and Conrad drift even further apart.

Successio, like the others in the series, is a plot driven book rather than character but I preferred Successio to the others because in this one, Carina seems more human and less of a superwoman. Conrad was allowed emotions as well, but so much so, I began to think he was a wimp! Neither could I understand why he was blind to Nicola's evilness and turn his back on Carina and their other children.

Subtly, Morton had dropped into the story that Conrad had had an accident and although recovered physically I felt his mental state was still in rehabilitation (because of his eagerness to side with his villainous daughter), but whether this was intended or not, I wasn't sure.

Even so, Carina was cruel to break the news in front of others about the activities of this bad daughter. She should have waited until they were alone. Their massive bust-up over it could still have happened, but the reader would have been more in Carina's court. Instead, I lost sympathy for her a little.

It's a tight read, tighter than the others, which seemed to have many little sub-plots feeding through. I did think that Carina would have had more respect at work by now, and the constant put downs she received was unnecessary because she'd proved herself time and again that she was an effective solider.


Successio is probably the only book out of the three that you could read as a stand-alone novel. It's genre is an alternative history (and well thought out) but first it's a crime story with a strong emphasis on thriller.

Very well done. Another strong 4/5.

Blurb

Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Alison Morton


4/5
 Perfiditas

Amazon.UK
Amazon.com

The cover is in line with the rest of the books in the series. I haven't changed my opinion on the cover, I still dislike it. But this time I looked up what Perfiditas means: faithlessness and treachery. Oooh, piqued my interest instantly!

The blurb  gives a little from the previous book, which acts as a nice reminder for those who have read it. Perfiditas begins seven years after the first, and Carina has got it together with love interest, Conrad, and is now a mother of two. I'm disappointed that I wasn't privy to their 'coming together'. In book one, they'd split up and I'd have loved to have seen them make up. But that's a romance reader talking. I have to remind myself that this is a thriller. 


The look inside was all taken up with the same intro that had appeared in the first book, which I thought unnecessary, but these books could possibly be read as stand-alone reads (not something I'd recommend because there is a LOT going on with characters carrying on their role from the previous instalment), so the author probably thought it was needed for that reason.

Perfiditas opened with Carina discovering the 'entrapment' of Aidan, seemingly, he had disappeared after dipping his hand into the cash drawer at work. It seemed trivial, and Carina was ready to dismiss it as such, but a hunch made her pursue it. Aidan was under surveillance from several minders: at home and work.

The build to his 'kidnap' was a brilliant hook and held my attention as Carina took charge, taking on many disguises to discover what was going on, so I was disappointed when I was just told that he had been liberated.

That wasn't the end though, Carina needed to find out why he'd been held and why she, are all those held dear to her, were being slandered. The plot thickens... but like the first book Morton tends to have her characters plan and discuss the tactics to be used instead of having actions. It is a little disappointing (for me), but it's the author style, and in no way 'wrong'.

I'd have liked Conrad to be her sidekick, instead of being pushed to one side. Other men are listed as 'dangerous' and 'exciting' instead, and I feel this should have been Conrad's role. Anyway, Carina finds herself in the middle of a plot to overthrow the government (her family) and kidnap her children and herself (to possibly kill them) so no female heirs can carry the 'throne'.

She goes on the run, seeking out her old villainous friends, whom we become acquainted with again, it was good to meet them, but Carina's children, and the rest of her family, seemed like mere observers in her exciting life. 

I could understand that she wanted to separate her dangerous working life from that of her family but maybe, slowing down, and allowing the reader into this calmer life would turn this into an amazing thriller. As it stands, it felt like something was missing--a spark--emotion--can't quite put my finger on it.

I just wish they'd been more of this: Normally, I relished the buzz of going undercover on an operation. But no adrenaline raced through my body now. I had no doubt I'd been on the brink of being arrested as a conspirator; I'd been trapped into deserting my post so would be pursued; I was cut off from my family, my children and my love. A cold wave washed through me. Deep down, I had never felt so alone.


And less emotionless planning to bring down her enemies or sudden 'Oh, I have children/a husband' mentions. Because of this I couldn't feel much empathy for Captain Carina Mitela.

Also, the revelation that Renschman had died was placed into the story so matter-of-factly I almost missed it. I know I described him as a pantomime villain in the first book, but felt his character was a waste to just kill him off in a sentence. 

Over all, this story focuses on a treason plot on her family (the government), and the fallout of Carina’s attempt to put things right. I was disappointed with Conrad for not understanding her reasons for getting things done quickly (illegally) but the sexual tension between Carina and Apollodorus was so strong I knew why.

And Alison Morton can do emotional; the ending actually made me go awwww. So I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series: Successio.


Blurb

Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’√©tat thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Alison Morton

4/5
Inceptio 

Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

The cover didn't jump out at me, I didn't know what the image meant and neither did I understand the title and had to look it up (it's Latin for beginning). What the cover strongly told me was that the book was literary fiction, and maybe a little heavy-going.

The blurb, however, tells a different story. It's exciting! It's present day and Karen is angry and frightened after surviving a kidnapping attack. The blurb immediately draws me into the meat of the story and tells me not only who the main character is but also what the book is about. It has just enough information to tell me that the book has an alternative history and Karen could be a Lara Croft type character. I hope she's not going to be too perfect though...

The look inside puts me off with a page of reviews, and then came the Historical Note and I admit I groaned a little. History lesson, I thought. But the first sentence: What if King Harold won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? lead to the question of an alternative history, and as that is the essence of the book my interest picked up again.

I did skip a few pages of the historical notes to get to the beginning, and the beginning opens with the main character Karen punching the nose of (unknowingly at the time) the son of the External Affairs Secretary, Hartenwyck, who is apparently the most powerful person in the country.

And so the story begins. Karen Brown is an ordinary woman and she most certainly isn't perfect. In fact, in the beginning she's a little wimpy.

Conrad Tellus is the love interest, which is very subtly developed into the book. The story doesn't hang about, and at less than a chapter in I'm pulled into Karen's world where everything she has ever known has been turned upside down. She's terrified, angry and confused and who wouldn't be? You're living your life as a nobody and all of a sudden you're sacked from your volunteer job, gain a criminal record, stalked by a Government enforcer, and have a sexy guy (Conradus Tellus) who wants to help you, with what, you're not really sure.

Renschman has a vendetta against Karen's father, and as Karen's father is dead, it's Karen who he seeks revenge from, but she doesn't know this at the time. Her secret past is cleverly left until the end to keep the reader engaged.

Karen ends up in Roma Nova, in Italy, which is ruled from the female descendent of Imperial Rome. Karen, unknown to her, is a descendent and her family want her back, they also want to protect her from Renschman.

This is where I became confused. So wanting to protect her, they allow her to become an undercover agent and act as bait for a notorious drug-running gang. OK, so Karen, or Cara, as she is now called (original birth name) learns a martial art and becomes the Lara Croft that the blurb promised, but though her transformation worked well within the story, I couldn't believe her family and friends would allow her to put herself in so much risk by pretending to work for  a group of career criminals.

Another 'problem' I found, or maybe it was the authors style, was that some of the scenes and chapters seemed to cut off in their climax. For instance (Cara's in a relationship with with Lurio--or thought she was):

'You know something, Cara Bruna?' he said, his finger touching the tip of my nose. 'You are  the most tremendous fuck I've ever had and I'm going to miss that.'
How coarse he could be, but it was a great compliment from him. 'What do you mean "going to miss that"?'
'After the trials next week you'll be free to go home.'

End of chapter.

The new chapter opens with the trials, and then Cara goes back to Lurio's apartment to collect her things and drop his keys through his mailbox before going 'home' to her grandmother. It's a little bit emotionless.

But at least the characters weren't one dimensional. They were real people with flaws, and we had some great characterisation from the sexy Conrad, cold and domineering Lurio, exciting Apollodorous, ice queen Somma and of course the quirky, strong-yet-ordinary Karen/Carina Brown. But the villain, Renschman, what a disappointment! He became a cartoon villain: hapless and pathetic. I bet he wore a black cape to cover his face with on his 'villainy' escapades.

The book had a lot of characters, but the author had a 'dramatis personae' at the back of the book for readers to refer back if they became lost.

Over all, Inceptio is fast-reading with interesting story lines in between the main plot of the story. It is the first of the series, and this first book is a good indicator of the characters yet to be fleshed out and I can only imagine the adventures that Cara and Conrad experience will under the skilful hands of Alison Morton.

It's an alternative history but has more emphasis on the action and crime, and if you like an intelligent read along those lines, and with a strong heroine, then this book is definitely worth a read.

It can be read as a stand-alone read.

Perfiditas follows Inceptio, and the third book, Successio will be published this month (June 2014).


Read 'Karen Brown's' interview on WWBB: http://louisewise.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-character-interview-with-karen-brown.html



Blurb

New York, present day. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe.

Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety and a ready-made family - at a price. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus, who rescued her in America, isolates her.

Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Curtis Edmonds

Rain on your Wedding Day



4/5
A plain, simplistic cover yet eye-catching. Loneliness and loss were the words that sprang to mind when I saw it, and the title only enforced that thinking. I think it's a love story; a sad and maybe tragic tale of love and loss. Both the title and author name were understated but matched the cover beautifully. I don't think a screaming title or author name would be good in this instance (if I'm correct in my assumption that the novel is a tragic tale).

The blurb was straightforward, although I hadn't a clue as to what 'Southern Gothic' meant. 

As I began to read the sample, I was drawn straight into the POV of Will Morse and immediately connected with his longing to be close to his daughter again after a tragic event. I was able, within a few paragraphs, to grasp the mood of the book and know exactly what the main character was feeling--brilliant! I'm buying!

Will Morse has taken himself to an old vacation cabin in the North Georgia mountains and had been there for five years; divorced from his wife and his last remaining child. But his child, an adult daughter called Alicia, calls him to tell him the news that she's getting married and she wants him at the ceremony. This is how the story begins. I thought it was going to be straightforward, but another tragedy and then a startling discovery about one of the main characters keeps me turning the pages.

The back-story was confusing at times as sometimes I found myself thinking I was in the present with Will, when in fact, I had been taken back a few years. That was my only criticism. 

The emotion running through the book felt very real, and at times the depressive mood of it had me putting the book down several times, but that's not a criticism just my perspective. It's a gritty book and has excellent dialogue. 

There were some great lines to lighten the tone: It was a good thing he was an ethnomusicologist; he would have starved to death as an actor. And: I looked a bit like Denver Pyle on the old Grizzly Adams TV show--the eccentric mountain man, but without the folksy.

Rain on your Wedding Day is a contemporary book, not really a romance, although there is romance in the story. The ending all came together nicely that made you feel pleased that Will was going to be happy at last.


Blurb:

RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY  is a modern Southern Gothic novel about one family's tragic past and the consequences that it holds for their future.

Five years ago, Will Morse was arrested and charged with the murder of his youngest daughter Trixie. Will maintained his innocence, and claimed that Trixie's death was a suicide. Although Will escaped criminal charges, he lost his job as a Coca-Cola executive in the scandal. His wife, Danielle, left him, convinced that he had some role in Trixie's death. Distraught and racked by grief and guilt, Will retreated to the safety and silence of a remote cabin in the North Georgia wilderness.

Will's only connection to the outside world is a phone call he receives once a year, at Christmas, from his daughter Alicia. But this year, Alicia calls to tell Will that she is paying him a visit. Alicia arrives with her fianc√©e in tow, and tells Will that she expects him to attend the wedding in the spring. 

Will wants to rekindle his relationship with her daughter, especially once he learns that she is pregnant. However, Will fears that attending the wedding will bring up painful memories from his past, and lead to conflict with his ex-wife and her family, who still blame him for Trixie's death.

Will develops a relationship with Dot Crawford, an English professor, who makes a chance visit to his cabin. The relationship flowers into a romantic friendship, and Will begins to open up to Dot about his tragic past. But Will soon learns that Dot is not all that she appears, and breaks off the relationship.

On the eve of Alicia's wedding, Will must confront the guilt and shame that he feels, and seek forgiveness for his actions that put Trixie in danger, and decide whether to reach out to Dot and forgive her for her betrayal.


RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAYis a poignant, moving tale about the need for forgiveness, redemption, and Coca-Cola.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Eliza Green

3/5
Becoming Human

Amazon.UK
Amazon.com

* Please note: This is the review of a copy I purchased May 2013, and since then the author as told me she has updated it to match her much stronger writing skills to bring it in line with the proceeding series.

Without looking at the cover, the title made me wonder if the genre was a vampire (or werewolf or ghost). The cover was powerful and definitely eye-catching but didn't match what the blurb said at first glance: polluted and overcrowded Earth. The road leading to the high-rise buildings looks very lonely, but maybe this wasn't earth? Anything that makes you stop and wonder is a good thing. Becoming Human is clearly a science fiction book and I'm quite keen to begin reading.

The opening blurb was amazing: Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret. Exciting! It went on to describe the book in a straight-forward way that was professional and interesting.

The look inside opened to the prologue and it was hard stay interested, and I must admit, I scrolled forward to the meat of the story. In chapter one I was introduced to Bill Taggart, the main character of the book, but back story had me scrolling forward again. Not a good sign.

After chapter one I'm taken into the POV of one of the aliens, bizarrely called the very human name of Simon, but I feel a connection with this alien (he is a species called Indigenes). His race feels like the 'underdog' from the beginning and together with the name: indi-genes, I already think I know the outcome. Can't wait to find out if I'm right! I buy the book...

But then comes chapter three and I'm taken into the POV of another character, and not until chapter eight am I back with the lead character Bill. Whose story is this? With so many characters I'm having trouble connecting with any of them! The main character's chapters (Bill) seems to be pure back story, the others are full of explanations of new technology so I'm really struggling.

The child, Ben (Bill and Ben, two similar names that is normally a no-no in writing) doesn't ring true. I can't engage with him and can't possibly imagine an eight year old out alone on his own with these 'dangerous' aliens running free. But then the child doesn't feature again after appearing in two chapters--not in this book anyway.

There was one person I warmed to out of all the characters in this book and that's a character called Laura. She's living on the over-populated earth and the author really does well in making the future earth sound like a horrible place to be. Laura gains some potentially dangerous information about the main character Bill Taggart and struggles with what to do with it (the govt. has evolved to be very mysterious and harsh). I'm lost though. The reader isn't told what this information is, only that Laura is worried. I also don't know why Stephen and the other aliens have gone to earth, or why they thought befriending a child would give them the necessary leads to get them there, neither do I know why, if all Stephen wanted was Taggart's help, is why he went to Earth (when Taggart was on Exilon 5), only to find Laura Hamilton so she could approach Taggart on their behalf.

Then I find out that the Indigenes are highly intelligent (much higher IQ than humans) so again the above makes no sense.


Two chapters from the end the story picks up, and my theory was correct. Basically, Becoming Human tells the story of how a future earth copes (not very well) with the population growth of humankind, and instead of altering a planet's composition to accommodate humans, the world govt. alter the humans DNA to fit with the planet's. Becoming Human could potentially be a brilliant book and I wonder if the author grew into the series as the time went on?

The ending wasn't concluded, but I think it ended at the right time, and the entire series will need to be read to get a better understanding of Exilon 5 and its inhabitants.


There were no grammar or spelling issues, but a strong edit for redundant characters, POV control and a back story tidy is recommended.


Blurb


Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Angela Brackeen

Lark, in Her Element: A Soul Set Free
3/5
Lark, in Her Element
 

A boring cover. It didn't stand out but what I got from it, other than maybe that I was opening a clothing catalogue, was that it was gentle and 'serious'. The title and author's name were at the expense of the cover and faded into nothing. Not only forgettable but unappealing too.

The blurb made me sit up and I particularly liked the line: Now she must choose—escape, or survive and learn to live with the changes, which especially grabbed my interest. Lark, in Her Element appears to be a brooding read about a young woman left with little choice but to change the way she's been living for whatever reasons, and I'm keen to find out, although the price (Kindle) was very expensive: £8.04 or $13.25, that's a lot of money for an eBook, even for a well known author!

In the opening chapter, I became a little confused because it read like a paranormal, but I soon realised that this was the insight of the main character's (Lark) thoughts.


The first few chapters moved through Lark’s life too fast and we were only allowed glimpses from her life as the book moved from child to adulthood. I couldn't connect with her and I really wanted to be with her on her journey, but the author (I felt) rushed the growing up bits until I felt like a distant spectator instead of being side-by-side with Lark.

The essence of the book is rejection. Lark was rejected by her father (he died), her first love (Hartmann Worth) didn't fight hard enough for her, her work colleagues rejected her... and she aches to belong. I got that. I felt her loneliness, but she was such an introvert and seemed to withdraw from human contact. In fact, I wanted to shake her for not having a backbone: Lark went to buy paint (ten tubs) and the assistants were not only rude to her but deliberately made up the wrong paint colour, and when she returned it they refused to help and implied she was the one to make the mistake. I'd have poured the paint all over their heads! (or then maybe I could do with some of Lark's calm!)

As I'd already said, part of the story felt told, as if the author was rushing through it, but then other parts, the dreary bits, were detailed over pages and pages of text. For instance, Lark met a married man, Russertt, (she didn’t know he was married at the time) but I felt the scenes were rushed just so we could linger over Lark’s depression when the relationship fell apart.

And I couldn’t believe Lark would have been fired from her job because of it, either! And then everyone gossiping about her, not just at work, but in another state when she went home? Really? The book felt very old-fashioned because of that, in fact, I’d have thought I was reading a historical had there not been mentions of modern technology.

This review seems bad, but all in all, it wasn’t a bad read, far from it. I’d describe it as a gentle and gliding story with a strong lesson in prejudice on someone's character. I think it asks the question: what if a recluse 
was taken from their comfort zone and pushed into the judgemental eye of her peers?

The detail in the book is certainly very good and visual. It’s nicely written, almost lyrical with its flowery prose.


Blurb
To Lark’s dismay, her heart’s innocent longings have brought unsettling changes to her life. Now she must choose—escape, or survive and learn to live with the changes.

Life was so right; flea marketing within sight of San Francisco Bay in search of bongo drums, old photographs, and vintage dresses marked the end of Lark’s busy, but well-ordered work weeks. Now, the control she has held over her life—control that brought her such success—is slipping from her grasp.

Those evenings spent romantically with a work associate couldn’t be to blame, could they? After all, she only longed to wear one of the lovely vintage dresses that hang forlornly in her closet …

Control over her life seems all but gone, when threatening occurrences leave her trembling in fear behind her own door, her mind reeling with questions of why. She fears she is coming unhinged—until a rainy evening when her romantic interest’s revelation brings blessed understanding.

But, how will she live with the changes that have been wrought in her life? Hope is prompted by a treasured flea market find—a key to remembering who she was before hurt sent her retreating. Will she see a break in the clouds and find desperately sought for peace if she flies to a place of family, winding creeks, and a gray house that fades into the trees?