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What happens when the kids leave home

The Mum Who Got Her Life Back Book Cover The Mum Who Got Her Life Back
Fiona Gibson
contemporary fiction, romance, humour, women's literature
Avon
01 Mar 2019

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive. That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

A story for all empty nesters and parents of kids who have left home – or have they? As so many people are now finding, kids that left, come bouncing back, just when you least expect them (and at very inopportune times) and really don’t need them back. They disrupt this nice life you have (finally) managed to create for yourself – even a nice new romance. They become needy toddlers again as life has been unfair to them and because you feel guilty because you didn’t miss them as much as you expected, you cater to their whims – even to the point where your new life begins to unravel.
Or least this is what happens according to this book.
Personally, if our kids had behaved the way her son did with his clothes and loo and messes they would have had a sharp word or two despite everything. Do Mums really get walked over nowadays as is portrayed here? And they don’t teach their sons to cook? Who was this woman and why did she allow her kids to treat her like a limp door mat? This rang untrue to me. So though I generally enjoyed the book the story was not as realistic as it could have been.
Overall, this works as a romance between single parents trying to find a new life for themselves and juggling the demands of work and family, but…

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When you need to be vigilant

Vigilante Dead
A Kate Jones Thriller: Volume #8
DV Berkom
Thriller, Detective, Crime, Female Sleuth
Duct Tape Press
(26 Nov. 2016)

Death. Lies. Revenge.After years of running, Kate Jones is finally putting her past behind her. Between restoring ties with her younger sister, moving in with Sam, a cop-turned PI, and working as a PI herself, she's learning to live life without looking over her shoulder.Then Kate lands a case that changes everything: a young college student with no history of drug abuse dies of an overdose, and the parents come to Kate demanding answers. Soon, Seattle is reeling from dozens more deaths, all with the same chemical markers. At first, police assume that the victims are closet junkies who got a hold of a bad combination, but after someone close to her becomes a victim, Kate believes something far more sinister is going on.The deeper Kate digs, the more she uncovers about the deadly drug’s origins, forcing her to choose between doing what’s right… and getting revenge

I read ‘Bad Spirits’ (book #1 in this series) some time ago and meant to follow it up but didn’t. I just may have read the last book in the series and missed all the ones in between… but still, DV Berkom hasn’t disappointed.

 And I could follow enough of the series’ storyline for this book to stand alone.

Kate thinks she has finally left her nemesis behind and is free of being hunted, but by deciding to interfere in a drug case, she finds more people who want her dead. The story about the drugs gets complicated as more unsuspecting people die from tainted pain killers.

A good suspense and thriller story, which doesn’t get too technical and gives some handy hints for women about self-defence.

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From Rugby Scrums to Business Fights






Rock Hard Book Cover




Rock Hard




Rock Kiss #2





Nalini Singh





Businessmen, romance




Tka Distribution




2015




387



Wealthy businessman, Gabriel Bishop, rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he'll go after it no-holds-barred. And what he wants is Charlotte Baird. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, Charlotte just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO clearly has other plans.

‘The Bishop’ was a rugby legend in New Zealand but he was injured and then this career was finished.

This book is where Gabriel Bishop goes after his rugby career is over – he goes into destroying – and rebuilding – in the stock market and company world.

Note that Gabriel is the older brother of Sailor Bishop in Cherish Hard – different series by author.

So now he has a different reputation and still not such a good one – as people only think about his destruction and not his re-building.

This is a fun romance with the usual hot scenes and well written story line  from this author. She transitions well from Fantasy into Romance – or the other way round… Overall, all her books are fun to read.

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Dress fabric to lust after

Blackberry and Wild Rose Book Cover Blackberry and Wild Rose
Sonia Velton
Historical Fiction , Women's Fiction
Quercus Books
10 Jan 2019

For fans of Jessie Burton and Tracy Chevalier, a rich historical debut set among the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields in the late 18th century.

WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God's will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping 'madam' is too good to refuse.

Inside the  Thorels' tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress's blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.

Spitalfields is an area of London that has always fascinated me, with its tall houses topped by glassed in roofs.

I knew that it had been settled by the Huguenot weavers when they came to Britain fleeing religious persecution in France, but knew little about the actual people other than their religion and that they wove silk.

This was also the time of the East India company’s explorations and settlement into the Far East, India, Alaska and North America. When they brought back furs, exotica and fabrics never before seen in England – and cheaper than silk too. Which is where this novel comes in.

I really enjoyed this faction/fiction about this period in history but would have been more impressed with the knowledge and storyline if I hadn’t heard about the book published just a year ago by Liz Trenow The Silk Weaver which is the (fictionalised) story of Anna Maria Garthwaite (as her real history has not been fully documented), who was the person who came to London and produced the realistic and beautifully detailed designs for silks, that in this story by Sonia Velton, is Esther’s role. Anna even persuaded a weaver to work on her silk as his Master piece. The flowers are amazingly detailed and must have taken a very long time to weave, stitch by stich, by hand, as mechanized weaving was not yet available for these fabrics, and the designs are woven in and not printed on.

This is an example of Anna Maria’s silk as held in the Victoria and Albert’s collection.

This is designed by an unknown silk weaver – held in the V&A’s Collection

Sonia’s story takes some of the facts about the Combinations, the Cutters’ Riots, and the hangings (there were 2 men hanged historically) and the known riots by the weavers as a direct result of the bringing in of printed calico and thus the drop in demand for silk, and the resultant loss of work and pay. But as my husband would say, there was always a small riot in London, they just never managed a big enough one to rival the French!

I enjoyed Sonia’s story nevertheless and found it well written and I did invest in the characters and the difficulties of life as a woman in this time – and how bad life was in London if you were poor – this is the time Hogarth painted his Gin Lanes and women feeding children gin to keep them quiet as they lacked food or milk.

But 2 novels published in the same year effectively about the same period with a similar cast of characters brings down the ranking of the second one.

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Taken for an unusual reason

The Taken Girls Book Cover The Taken Girls
GD Sanders
Thrillers, Crime, British Detective, Police Procedural
Avon; Digital original edition
(21 Feb. 2019)

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

This is a solid police procedural with the frustrations of modern policing and the requirements for solid evidence well portrayed. Not to mention the fact that the senior officers want good press coverage even when what you have is more speculative than fact and contradicts the above …
I found this new DI (a debut novel) to be a believable character – and fallible too, and was intrigued by the perpetrator and motives.
This is a series I think that will develop well and I look forward to reading more.

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