When you need to Question

36 Questions that changed my mind about you Book Cover 36 Questions that changed my mind about you
Vicki Grant
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Hot Key Books
(19 Oct. 2017)

36 questions guaranteed to make two strangers fall head over heels in love with each other? What's not to like. A clever, wry, funny, rom-com. For fans of The Rosie Project.

Inspired by the real psychology study popularized by the New York Times and its "Modern Love" column, this contemporary YA/crossover is perfect for fans of Eleanor and Park, Jo Jo Moyes, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Cecila Ahern.

Two random strangers. Thirty-six questions to make them fall in love. 

Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for taking part in the psychology study (in Paul's case it is the $40, in Hildy's the reasons are significantly more complex). The study poses the simple question: Can love be engineered between two random strangers?

Hildy and Paul must ask each other 36 questions, ranging from "What is your most terrible memory?" to "When did you last sing to yourself?" By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they've laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back again. They've also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love?

A book that started really well but failed to deliver on its initial promise.

The psychology experiment was well described but the story it finally told was not as gripping and in my opinion their issues were not worth the effort of discovering the answers.

I debated as to whether to class this as a 3 or a 2, but will give the benefit  of the experiment being genuine and one that interests me, and go for a 3.

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Adventures?

Misadventures of a Good Wife Book Cover Misadventures of a Good Wife
Misadventures #2
Meredith Wild and Helen Hardt
contemporary fiction, romance,
Waterhouse Press
(3 Oct. 2017)

Kate and Price Lewis had the perfect marriage--love, fulfilling careers, and a great apartment in the city. But when Price's work takes him overseas and his plane goes down, their happily-ever-after goes down with it.

A year later, Kate is still trying to cope. She's tied to her grief as tightly as she was bound to Price. When her sister-in-law coaxes her into an extended girls' trip--three weeks on a remote island in the South Pacific--Kate agrees. At a villa as secluded as the island, they're the only people in sight, until Kate sees a ghost walking toward them on the beach. Price is alive.

Their reunion is anything but picture perfect. Kate has been loyal to the husband she thought was dead, but she needs answers. What she gets instead is a cryptic proposal--go back home in three weeks, or disappear with Price...forever.

Emotions run high, passions burn bright, and Kate faces an impossible choice. Can Price win back his wife? Or will his secrets tear them apart?

Oh I do wish that the title were true. This book doesn’t even include an adventure for the wife, whether or not she was good.

Her husband on the other hand does have some adventures.

Again, a lack of humour and an over concentration on sex means little room for the story and thus soon gets boring.

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Billionaires for sale?

Billionaire Investor Book Cover Billionaire Investor
Small Town Billionaire Romance #1-5
Alexa Davis
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Kindle

Justin is a self-made man, with millions to his name. But he also has a needy brother tagging along, spending his money almost as fast as he can make it, without any desire to pull his own weight. This leaves Justin with two choices: cut his brother loose or find a new investment.

In truth, he knows the right choice is to make his brother stand on his own, but the guilt is too much. So he starts seeking out new investments, which leads him to Annie and her combination café and bookstore.

Unfortunately, her store isn’t the right investment for him, but Annie herself is irresistible. And her daughter is just too lovely, making him start to see a new future for himself. But between his business and his brother, can he really find room in his life for Annie and her daughter?

A series of 5 books of which I only read the first as too bored to read further.

I kept saying ‘you can’t franchise the idea of a bookshop that sells coffee and cakes, and behaves as a community centre’ – and finally the heroine agreed. I really can’t even consider why anyone, even the author thought this was a good idea for an investor – so as the characters are clearly very far from business minded I decided, as they say on the Apprentice ‘You’re fired’ to the books.

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The Unwelcome Gift

Marriage Pact Book Cover Marriage Pact
Michelle Richmond
psychological, mystery, suspense, contemporary
Michael Joseph
July 27, 2017
432

Alice and Jake are the perfect couple - sort of. On the day of their wedding, a stranger offers them the chance to join a mysterious group, known as The Pact. With its promise of a lifelong marriage of happiness, Jake and Alice are persuaded to accept. The goals of the society seem sound - and the couple are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, sense of community and like-minded couples. But then one of them breaks the rules. Alice and Jake are about to discover that, like marriage, The Pact is for life. The members will go to any lengths to ensure nobody leaves - until the marriage of their dreams becomes their worst nightmare. Under The Pact, 'Til death do us part' has a whole new meaning. . .

A story that gets darker as it develops.

So here is the fairly typical West Coast USA couple. Well educated, good careers with some previous experimentation, living together in a bijou house in a nice neighbourhood. Marriage seems the next and logical step.

And a friend introduces them to this ‘organisation’ that started in Ireland, which aims to help people have better marriages and fewer divorces.

Strangely, to join the organisation you have sign a contract, and then are given a very large book of rules of behaviour. The rules are very precise and specify minutiae – as an example, if your spouse rings you, you must answer within 2 rings. Now you may ask, what happens if you answer in 3 rings? And how would the organisation know? Which is where the story starts getting creepy. Apparently they do know. And you will be ‘reported’ and ‘dealt’ with.

The story is told by Jake, who is a counsellor and therapist, and it is his marriage to Alice that is examined in the book.

If you are married, or about to be married, there are definitely some elements of this story that you might want to think about. How often do you talk to your partner properly? Not just about day to day chores and work. How often do you surprise them with a gift? For no reason other than that you want to?

The statistics about divorce are horrendous and also those about how often marriage counselling fails. So the idea of (self) help and how to make a successful marriage appeals. But, I suspect, that what works for some couples, works for them alone, just because they are who they are, and not someone else. So don’t copy their behaviour!

Which is why I don’t think that the concept of the Pact was useful as an idea from the cult leaders. Who clearly had the wrong sort of psychological training…..

I really like the story and got more and more horrified as the story went on. And the final chapter was completely unexpected.

 

 

 

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Which are you?

The Night Brother Book Cover The Night Brother
Rosie Garland
gender studies, literature, LGBT+
Borough Press
June 15, 2017

From the author of The Palace of Curiosities and Vixen comes a bold new novel exploring questions of identity, sexual equality and how well we really know ourselves. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Sarah Waters and Erin Morgenstern.

Rich are the delights of late nineteenth-century Manchester for young siblings Edie and Gnome. They bicker, banter, shout and scream their way through the city’s streets, embracing its charms and dangers. But as the pair grow up, it is Gnome who revels in the night-time, while Edie wakes exhausted each morning, unable to quell a sickening sense of unease, with only a dim memory of the dark hours.

Confused and frustrated at living a half-life, she decides to take control, distancing herself from Gnome once and for all. But can she ever be free from someone who knows her better than she knows herself?

A dazzling and provocative novel of adventure and belonging, The Night Brother lures us to the furthermost boundaries of sexual and gender identity. With echoes of Orlando and Jekyll & Hyde, this is a story about the vital importance of being honest with yourself. Every part of yourself. After all, no-one likes to be kept in the dark.

An easy to read and vividly descriptive writing style that impacts from the book’s start .

There are insightful perceptions about confidence in the context of an exciting childhood of an imaginary brother and sister. With early hints of  the supernatural in the storyline.

But is the story of the pub interesting? There are some good period-piece scene setting and narration that hold your interest, and keep you wondering where the story is going. but where the story is going is a good question.  The colourful & vivid writing has little plot at times as an example see the scene about the kid in the Punch & Judy show.

There are some interesting reflections of the very different views of similar situations; but here the writing is coarsely graphic rather than brightly / imaginatively descriptive.

And with the Edie chapter the story seems to drift into an argumentative soap opera; and it was hard to see where it was going,  if anywhere.

I lost interest at that point.

 

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