When its hard to play

Cherish Hard Book Cover Cherish Hard
Hard Play
Nalini Singh
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
TKA Distribution
(27 Oct. 2017)

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling… Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin. Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener. And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind. As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

A review about the first books in this series.

Cherish Hard is the  #1 in hard play series

Fun with great chapter titles 4 stars.

Rebel Hard is #2 in the series.

Not quite as good #1 including the chapter titles, less fun and more family angst – definite appeal for the Bollywood storyline to certain readers if not me. 3 stars.

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Tempt who?

One Night of Temptation Book Cover One Night of Temptation
Wicked Dukes Club
by Darcy Burke
historical romance,
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date: 25 Jun 2019

Faced with a marriage she can’t abide, Lady Penelope Wakefield takes drastic measures to preserve her freedom. Her brilliant plan is foolproof until a sexy but imperious rector “rescues” her.

Rector Hugh Tarleton has no patience for the Society philanthropists who seek to bestow their pity—and not much else—on his oppressed flock in one of London’s worst neighborhoods. When the daughter of a marquess is kidnapped and brought to the rookery, he vows to protect her, but the temptation to surrender to their mutual desire will certainly ruin them both.

For me this story lacked oomph. The heroine was rather weak and lacked personality and anything much to recommend her.  Thus there was little to the story – she didn’t want to marry the nasty piece of lecher her parents had picked out for her. So she attempted to get herself kidnapped. And that was it. She met a nice rector and….

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Be careful in vineyards

October Man Book Cover October Man
Rivers of London
Ben Aaronovitch
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, Greeks, and Romans,Urban fantasy
| 13 Jun 2019

Trier is famous for wine, Romans and for being Germany's oldest city. So when a man is found dead with, his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth.

Fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.

Enter Investigator Tobias Winter, whose aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger and paperwork. With the help of frighteningly enthusiastic local cop, Vanessa Sommer, he's quick to link the first victim to a group of ordinary middle aged men - and to realise they may have accidentally reawakened a bloody conflict from a previous century. But the rot is still spreading, literally and with the suspect list extending to people born before Frederick the Great solving the case may mean unearthing the city's secret magical history.

. . . so long as that history doesn't kill them first.

This book takes us away from the usual London magic haunt and Peter to Germany and a new character who was apprenticed to a Mistress Practitioner of Magic – in the police of course.

Germany suffered badly after the war and its initial need for practitioners was to eradicate the werewolves, it was only once that task had been completed that it was possible to look at the strange occurrences from a policing viewpoint. But as in Britain, the official practitioners had been decimated by the magical battles and ‘magic ‘ police were still learning and had not yet linked up with the more established London police.

Nonetheless, it was rivers and their goddesses that were causing issues. Or perhaps one could say more accurately the lack of such goddesses and their worship.  Especially as some rivers had ‘birthed’ baby goddesses, who being toddlers really had little control of their powers. So we get wine growing, rivers and some very strange deaths and perhaps a new apprentice.

Nice but not quite as original and atmospheric as the London stories.

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Lose Nothing

Nothing to lose Book Cover Nothing to lose
Ziba MacKenzie #2
Victoria Selman
police procedurals, psychological thrillers
Thomas & Mercer
26 Mar 2019

He’s looking for his next victim. She looks just like his last.

Primrose Hill, London. Offender Profiler Ziba MacKenzie arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder with a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Nine days earlier, another woman’s body was found: same location, same MO, same physical appearance. For the police, it’s clear a new serial killer is on the loose. But for Ziba, it’s even more sinister—because the victims look just like her.

Ziba has been the focus of a killer’s interest before, and knows that if she gets too close again this case could be her last. Still, she’s not one to play by the rules—especially when her secret investigation into her husband’s murder begins to attract unwanted attention.

With someone watching her every step, can Ziba uncover what connects the two victims before she becomes one herself?

This is number 2 in this series about a profiler looking for her husband’s murderer and the reason why he was murdered. Even going so far as to bring in Wolfie for extra help.

Our profiler is still grieving and as such is perhaps not as clear-headed as she should be and so makes mistakes. Ones she should know better than …

For me, the writing style had improved over book 1 and so was the story-telling. As with all these genre of books, red herrings abound and there is a great twist to the ending.

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What a Gothic Tale

Nettie's Secret Book Cover Nettie's Secret
Dilly Court
Romance , Women's Fiction
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction
Pub Date 16 May 2019

The new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

As the wind whipped around her, dragging strands of hair from beneath her bonnet and tugging at her skirt, Nettie left behind the only home she’d ever known…

London, 1875. Taking one last look around her little room in Covent Garden, Nettie Carroll couldn’t believe she wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to her friends. Her father had trusted the wrong man, and now they would have to go on the run. Once again.

Well I think Nettie wrote her own Gothic novel in this story with its ups and downs and the frequent villains and flitting from police and and and…

I really enjoyed this book after a slow start. Do persevere as it gets better. The fake paintings are very current as there was an article in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday 15th June claiming that a museum dedicated to the work of Étienne Terrus (a friend of Matisse but lesser known) has now discovered that most of the paintings (60%) are fakes..

It seems that top artist fakes are now too easily found so people are copying the work of lesser known artists. But when this novel is set, fakes of well known artists were much rarer. Amusingly earlier this year it was discovered that what was thought to be a fake Botticelli was actually real!

So Nettie lives in dire poverty in reality with almost no protein and in the slums of London with a father who is profligate yet without earning much at all.

To find out a little more about Victorian life, wages and cost of living I did a little exploring. I found the following quote from Dickens:

There are several grades of lawyers’ clerks. There is the articled clerk, who has paid a premium, and is an attorney in perspective, who runs a tailor’s bill, receives invitations to parties, knows a family in Gower Street, and another in Tavistock Square; who goes out of town every long vacation to see his father, who keeps live horses innumerable; and who is, in short, the very aristocrat of clerks. There is the salaried clerk—out of door, or in door, as the case may be—who devotes the major part of his thirty shillings a week to his Personal pleasure and adornments, repairs half-price to the Adelphi Theatre at least three times a week, dissipates majestically at the cider cellars afterwards, and is a dirty caricature of the fashion which expired six months ago. There is the middle-aged copying clerk, with a large family, who is always shabby, and often drunk. And there are the office lads in their first surtouts, who feel a befitting contempt for boys at day-schools, club as they go home at night, for saveloys and porter, and think there’s nothing like ‘life.’ Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers,1836

For interest I found the following statistics:

For the average coffee-stall keeper, general labourer or female copy clerk in the City the wages/salary was – £1 per week:

And Clerks in general were paid as follows:

The cost of accommodation – bearing in mind that in this era nearly everyone rented was:

If you worked at sewing as Nettie did then you could be expected to be paid as follows:

So you can see that it was very difficult to make ends meet unless you were middle class earners.

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