I loved this cozy mystery as much as, even moreso, than the first in the series. You don't have to have read Wingate's first Pru Parke mystery but why...moreI loved this cozy mystery as much as, even moreso, than the first in the series. You don't have to have read Wingate's first Pru Parke mystery but why deny yourself the fun? Whatever you do, make sure you're ready to pick up with "The Red Book of Primrose House".
Pru has now achieved serious gardener employment in England and what a coup! Her job at Primrose House may have some slightly zany employers who envision all sorts of crazy tasks or additions to the garden Pru's restoring, but it also comes with a gold mine for gardeners: Repton's Red Book.
The Victorian gardening guru designed gardens for Primrose House and Pru's tasked with restoring them in time for a July open house. That's a task she can't manage on her own, so it's all hands on deck. Amongst her helpers are two brothers with quite the local reputation for playing around with the ladies, a special needs youth who loves to dig, and an older man with a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Pru. And then some mischief starts to muck up the garden projects. Is it idle vandalism or something more?
Pru's "fellow", DCI Christopher Pearse, comes over to visit as much as he can but Pru's negotiating all of this mostly on her own, a smart choice for Wingate. It allows Pru to shine as the amateur sleuth facing a mystery that only deepens as the book unwinds. There are additional complications that flesh out her situation, the other characters and the mystery. Well-paced, well-plotted and well-written, "The Red Book of Primrose House" was a rollicking good read!
ARC provided via NetGalley in return for an honest review.(less)
Whitney and Jordan are two hot-shot lawyers trapped in an elevator on their way to a job interview. But they're also a woman and a man who're both att...moreWhitney and Jordan are two hot-shot lawyers trapped in an elevator on their way to a job interview. But they're also a woman and a man who're both attracted to and annoyed by each other. This book starts off with a rush and gallops headlong through their rapidly escalating situation. Well, the heat rises but the elevator, not so much.
There's humour, there's angst and there's sexual tension galore as the two are left to their own devices in the elevator. Whitney has a lot of reasons to resent Jordan, who waltzes in as if the world owes him everything, but she comes to see he isn't what he seems. Jordan also learns to see Whitney for a lot more than just the beautiful woman he's sure he can bring to his side with a sexy smile or two.
Carpenter is deft in her dialogue and scene-setting. The characters are distinct and well-drawn. The romance is elemental and edgy. The story reads as super-short which is why it's only a four-star rating for me. I was keenly aware that it wrapped up much too quickly for plausibility but that's my own quibble in what is otherwise a fun, sexy and smart read.
ARC provided by Entangled in return for an honest review.(less)
Third in the Kowalski series, we jump ship from the main family to a cadet branch with the romance of Sean and Emma. Sean's fresh out of the army but...moreThird in the Kowalski series, we jump ship from the main family to a cadet branch with the romance of Sean and Emma. Sean's fresh out of the army but don't you mind about that since his military background only rates about two mentions in the entire book. No, instead, we're all about Emma, who's somehow fibbed her way into a fake engagement with Sean, in order to convince her Florida-loving grandmother that Emma's okay back in wintry New Hampshire taking care of the old homestead. So couldn't Sean just play along, move in with Emma and help entertain Gram when she's back north for a visit. It'll only be a month. . . .
Sean and Emma are an engaging (hsh, see the pun there!) pair of leads for this sometimes comic romance. You'll see lots of familiar faces from the Kowalski clan (of doom) so if you like this sprawling family stories, this one's pretty perfect. I enjoyed their relationship despite the need for some heavy suspension of disbelief that a) Sean would go along with Emma's crazy plan and b) that it will all wrap up in a month. There are some problems of pacing but I still was willing to bump it up a bit above the 3.5 mark.(less)
I am a bit suspicious of plot points that are incorporated here. Despite the fact that I loved the occasionally ridiculous Kowalski Family (of Doom) a...moreI am a bit suspicious of plot points that are incorporated here. Despite the fact that I loved the occasionally ridiculous Kowalski Family (of Doom) as featured in the first book. Beth is super-super annoying. I was so irked with her that I almost stopped reading the book. She is a precious snowflake of "I won't get involved with anyone" for no real reason (at least not compelling to this reader). So, of course, she is hopelessly entwined in Kevin's life from the get-go.
I hung on with the book mostly because I loved the secondary character Paulie whose special problems were at least a bit more understandable if only sketchily developed. It's sad when the secondary female lead is someone you'd much rather read about than the main character!(less)
I mislaid this book for several weeks but stumbled across it just the other day. Boy, am I glad that I did because the read was so much fun. If you li...moreI mislaid this book for several weeks but stumbled across it just the other day. Boy, am I glad that I did because the read was so much fun. If you like your cozies with occasional bits of hilarity to relieve the tension and break up the mystery-hunting, Boneham's the author for you! Who else will introduce you to the world of cat agility? Hence, the book's fun title and glorious cover!
Janet is a photographer and animal-lover who's involved with Tom, another animal person. It's animals that start the story off - a missing, pregnant cat that Janet's smart Aussie sheepdog will track to a building on the property of a very angry homeowner. Shoves, growls, threats and more signal that Charles Rasmussen will be the big baddie in this book: something that only becomes more evident as his wish to develop a nearby wetland reveals. With animal lovers, Janet's friends, naturalists and even his relatives outraged by Rasmussen, you can bet we've got the fuel for a mystery.
Some readers might find Boneham's story a little over the top at times but I enjoyed the way that mistakes and mishearings factored into Janet's sleuthing as she seeks to not only clear her friends' names but track down someone who's too close for comfort, threatening herself and the animals she holds dear. A fun romp of a mystery, perfect for animal-lovers!(less)
I picked this up on a lark and quite enjoyed it. Joe and Keri are a couple with quite a history. It appears from the outset that there is no way that...moreI picked this up on a lark and quite enjoyed it. Joe and Keri are a couple with quite a history. It appears from the outset that there is no way that they can get back together and, yet, the entire book is devoted to showing the reader exactly how and why that is perfect. It takes Keri a bit longer to get on board: she has a few issues to tackle in the story but they're mostly thoughtfully presented. You empathize with both Keri and Joe as well as Joe's vast and mischievous family who're bothering the hesitant duo since the whole romance basically plays out at the family's summer camping extravaganza (of doom).
Funny, heartfelt, fantastical and occasionally fantastic, Stacey's off to a good start with this contemporary series.(less)
Vincent and Sophie: these two might be among my absolute favourite romance characters ever. Vincent is part of the Survivor's Club and he is not your...moreVincent and Sophie: these two might be among my absolute favourite romance characters ever. Vincent is part of the Survivor's Club and he is not your conventional rugged, independent hero. Blinded in the war, he's a slight, young man beleaguered by mother and sisters galore. So, of course, he runs when he realizes they're setting him up with a pity marriage.
Instead he runs right back to his childhood home where he encounters Sophie, the barely-tolerated poor relation of a local squire and his social-climbing wife. Sophie saves Vincent from her cousin's matchmaking ambitions, ends up cast out and, well, Vincent picks her up. She needs a great deal of convincing but the reader knows already that Sophie and Vincent are made for each other.
They are a superbly written pair of characters who need to grow and do grow, not with a great deal of fireworks, drama or any such silliness, but real, human and thoughtful changes. I loved how Balogh handles their interactions with others but it is in the dynamics between Vincent and Sophie that the story absolutely shines. A favourite which I want to read and reread.(less)
I fell in love with this book right from the start. A prickly heroine is matched up against a supremely defensive hero who wants nothing to do with wh...moreI fell in love with this book right from the start. A prickly heroine is matched up against a supremely defensive hero who wants nothing to do with what he thinks she will be and everything to do with who she really is.
The premise of Balogh's new "Survivor's Club" series is catnip: a group of men, and one woman, brought together by shared suffering, learning to live again through their mutual support. The first book is the story of Hugo, a merchant's son who was ennobled for heroic action in the Peninsular campaign, and Gwendoline, a widow who is numb in the heart and hurt in the body from the stress of her previous marriage.
Their secrets and attraction emerge slowly over the course of the story with a lot of time to unwind the stories of their friends and relations. Balogh builds a lively world of interesting characters you know you'll be drawn to follow in her other books. Just might as well give in now. I loved Gwendoline and Hugo, learning to love without the force of any outrageous devices - no evil genius, no secret baby, no blackmailing guardian - just their baggage and each other.
This is definitely not a story of teenaged debutantes and mysterious Regency rakes. This is a story of two adults who come to love in an occasionally funny, always riveting romance.(less)
This is a new adult romance that's heavy on angst, improbable situations and a bit weak on pacing. Those are some of the reasons I gave it a three sta...moreThis is a new adult romance that's heavy on angst, improbable situations and a bit weak on pacing. Those are some of the reasons I gave it a three star rating. I'm probably a bit old for the book.
That said, Particka is a smashing good author who has a deft hand with characterization. Her lead, Jenna, is a little bit quirky, a lot bit hurt and really not ready to deal with the fallout of being dumped by her fiance who's now engaged to her (former) BFF. But deal she must when she returns to her hometown.
Fortunately, Jenna doesn't have to deal alone. Her former crush (and her friend's older brother) Sutton, is working for Jenna's father. He's equally unimpressed with Jenna's former fiance but also evidently enchanted with Jenna.
The book's told in alternating viewpoints. I normally don't like that narrative style but it works wonderfully here. You see Sutton's worries and Jenna's pain. You see their humour, their love and their hopes, coming together. Sutton's determined to save his baby sister from the predatory sleaze of Adam, Jenna's ex-fiance. Maybe so determined that he will put his budding relationship with Jenna inadvertantly at risk?(less)
This Regency will appeal to readers who like a hefty dose of madcap in their happily ever after. I admit that I struggled to suspend my disbelief enou...moreThis Regency will appeal to readers who like a hefty dose of madcap in their happily ever after. I admit that I struggled to suspend my disbelief enough to finish the book, even though there were a lot of fun elements in Sue's burgeoning relationship with Holden. Their cute meet, their shared interests and their supportive friends or family members were great. What threw me were the over-the-top villains afflicting both the hero and heroine. I found their malice or clueless evils (take your pick) to be unbelievable and inhuman so the obstacles they presented to the story were similarly unconvincing. Also, Holden is a pretty enormously clueless jerk for much of the book. It will take a world of forgiveness to see their story come to an end and the book just didn't have that for my part.
So an emphatic "meh" is my rating summary. I'll give others in the series a pass as I'm clearly not the one to appreciate Michels' stories they way they deserve to be treasured.(less)
Playful and historically evocative, the royally-related mysteries of Lady Georgiana are well-represented by this outing which features a Bavarian prin...morePlayful and historically evocative, the royally-related mysteries of Lady Georgiana are well-represented by this outing which features a Bavarian princess, Wallis Simpson and an inconvenient string of the dead and dying. Georgie's still struggling to get by in Depression-era London, far away from her annoying brother, the duke (aka Binky) and his even-more-annoying wife, Fig, who're holed up at the Rannoch estates in Scotland. It's beans on toast for our resourceful heroine who's making ends meet by cleaning the houses of the well-to-do but on the sly so word doesn't get out because it would be her ruin.
Such are the worries when you're 34th in line to the throne and suddenly on call for tea with Queen Mary. Poor Georgie is made to play hostess to a visiting German princess whom the queen hopes will draw the heir to throne out of his unsuitable fancies for that horrid American, Mrs. Simpson. With the help of her Cockney grandfather and his neighbour, Georgie fakes a staff for the household enough to suit the naive convent-educated continental princess who turns out to be a devotee of American gangster movies and unsuitably attracted to handsome young Communists. But what can Georgie say? She's still moonlighting as a maid, furiously ditching Fishface and wishing that her flirtation with the handsome Darcy would have borne some fruit. . . .
You'll read Rhys Bowen's light and frothy series more for the fabulous hijinks and emotional rollercoaster that Georgie ably rides than the depth of the mystery I thought fairly easy to solve. I didn't mind because more of Lady Georgiana and her take on 1930s London life is always welcome!(less)
As always, Milan draws the reader in with enchanting characters and a compelling love story. Her heroine in this is Rose Sweetly, a gifted astronomica...moreAs always, Milan draws the reader in with enchanting characters and a compelling love story. Her heroine in this is Rose Sweetly, a gifted astronomical mathematician or "computer" as her job was known up until the last few decades. Rose is also Afro-British and her awareness of how that race defines her, at least to much of the world, forms one important thread in her story. Another is her growing attraction to Stephen Shaughnessy, an Irish Catholic man who fans of Milan will recognize as the "Ask a Man" columnist from her previous outing. He's since branched out to become an outrageous and celebrated novelist. His reputation only increases Rose's worries and leads her to conclude that the odds of them ever coming together are slimmer than those of an asteroid impacting the earth and yet she can still feel his irresistible pull.
This is a novella and so not a hefty read but you won't feel cheated at all in terms of story development. Courtney Milan builds her world with deftly chosen details. You will learn a lot about the history of astronomy, perhaps as much as the hero does as he becomes entranced by Rose and hires her as a tutor under the less-than-observant eye of her aging employer and his wife. Rose's sister, Patricia, also features in smartly to show both Rose's responsibilities and the reasons for her worries about her situation. Factor in a spectacular astronomical event and this romance is truly a stellar confection.
I can't wait for Milan's newest series to begin later this year.(less)
There's a bit of mystery, a lot of sexiness (with a light hint of BDSM) and otherwise a fair bit of formulaic romance in this Regency outing. Haymore'...moreThere's a bit of mystery, a lot of sexiness (with a light hint of BDSM) and otherwise a fair bit of formulaic romance in this Regency outing. Haymore's a grand writer but Lukas, in particular, didn't seem to transcend his rather unbelievable back story where he's both a pampered noble boy and a parcel of man-pain that can only be made whole through Emma's sexy submission.
Fun if you love "Fifty Shades" and the current vogue for such erotic romances, but have hoped to see those in a historical setting. The problem that they face, tracking down a vile and wicked fraudster, Roger Morton, didn't deeply engage me but you can still enjoy the romance if the plot leaves you otherwise unmoved.(less)
A massive, wide-ranging and intriguing survey of how a belief in and practices of magic were integral to European societies for hundreds of years, Wil...moreA massive, wide-ranging and intriguing survey of how a belief in and practices of magic were integral to European societies for hundreds of years, Wilson's book is probably too daunting for most non-academics. It pays off if you have interest in the subjects: he touches on all sorts of magic from the charms of childbirth to numerology and more. It's a learned, expansive and smart survey of an intriguing subject that tends to be buried behind the mountains of studies about witchcraft.(less)