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Karma means?

Karma's Slow Burn
by Nalini Warriar
Romance
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 1 Feb 2020

Rafael Henley, star pitcher of the pro-baseball team Sliders, is a single dad of a six-month old baby girl he loves more than life itself. He likes willowy blondes and women who don’t look to him as their protector. Yet here is, lusting after the complete opposite: petite, raven-haired, Karma Huntington with a rose tat running up her neck, brimming with confidence and fiercely independent. But the dark secret Rafael holds in his heart prevents any serious interest in pursuing Karma.

Baseball is one of Karma’s passions, the others being writing and food. Not only does the order of this change with her moods but she could also be doing two of them at the same time. Like writing with food on her face or watching baseball and eating. Real multi-tasking.

Raised by her father and his gang of friends, Karma’s just getting over the death of her husband. It has been three years but to her it feels like yesterday. Time heals, she’s been told. She’s still waiting. Now she has revenge on her mind. She wants to get closer to Rafael to avenge her husband’s death. He was driving the car that killed him. And what better way to do it than to take away the one thing he loves most in the world?

She gets her chance to get closer to Rafe when he stumbles upon her one moonlit night, meditating on the hill looking upon the lake. They both want this one brief encounter and that would be it: a one-night stand deal, which no one actually wants.

As she’s finishing the pictures for her latest article, Rafael’s nanny calls in sick. As he has to leave for New York for a series of games with the Yankees, Karma volunteers to baby-sit Ali. When Rafael gets back from his road trip, he realizes he wants the deal with Karma to be toast.

Karma’s plan to get closer to Rafael is in the works. Everything comes to a screeching halt when Rafael’s baby girl is kidnapped. Nothing, nothing will stop him from getting her back and beating the crap out of whoever is responsible.

Karma’s father and his friends decide to jump in the fray and do some rescuing of their own. Lily is retired, yes, but a decorated police officer. Flatulent Rosy is a seasoned claims investigator. Cross-dressing Trudie is incredibly fit. If they don’t make a great team, then what use are their talents? Just as the rescue gang tumbles in, Rafael marches into the loft where Ali is kept. Karma keeps out of sight as the rescue effort is underway.

Rafael has words with the rescue team, gives them a piece of his very loud mind. He’ll be happy if he never sees them again.

Relieved it was only a ploy to get him back, Rafael and Declan bond. However, from the PI’s files, Rafael discovers Karma has been hiding things from him. He confronts her and accuses her of wanting revenge for the death of her husband. He plans to stay out of her life.

The team is relocating and Rafael has to decide if he wants to move with them. He’s devastated. This on top of Karma’s betrayal! Just when he was beginning to like her a lot! He quits baseball so he can be with Ali and watch her grow up in the house Linus has left him: the house in the woods. He opens a restaurant, which becomes a hit. Rafael cannot avoid Karma. A chance meeting with her after the release of her latest book put things into perspective for him. But Karma’s head is the clouds. Her latest book, a romance, has hit all the lists. She’s immersed in her writing, dazzled with her success and loving every second of it. She’s not ready to fall in love again. Not ready to be distracted. And she wants none of it.

Rafael’s just thinking of lost opportunities when Karma’s father, Alan, and his gang stop for a bite at his restaurant. Alan tells Rafe about Ben and Rafael admits Linus was driving. Alan tells Rafe to go to Karma and let her know that.

With a bit of strawberry and cream, Karma finally lets the past stay in the past and Rafael puts aside his guilty conscience.

Now this was an interesting story about a young sports journalist – female in a world which is more than dominated by male journalists and her slow burn romance with a baseball player. Slow burn because of who they are and what he has going on in his personal life – that is a very small baby!

I found the story credible and engaging and enjoyed Karma and her delight in her Indian heritage and her father’s friends were a hoot… clearly all needed much more to do in their retirement.

The author is happy to cross some ‘lines’ about race and sexuality that many authors shy away from from and this is refreshing especially as it was just added in as a normal part of the story. No big deal.

Overall a good read.

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Meet a Blacksmith from France

The Duke's Embrace Book Cover The Duke's Embrace
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction , Romance
WebMotion
Pub Date 3 Dec 2019

Unpaid and under-appreciated journalist Miss Eve Shelling never goes anywhere without a trusty notebook and her overprotective Duenna—who happens to be a bullmastiff. Eve learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted. She’s definitely not falling head-over-heels for the deceptively charming subject of her front-page column. Local blacksmith Monsieur Sébastien le Duc is the pillar of his community—when he’s not pillaging elsewhere. He’s a rakish dandy with a heart of stolen gold and two teeny tiny secrets. One happens to be a wee international smuggling operation. The other involves losing his heart to an ambitious journalist determined to expose the truth at any cost… The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

Another story about Cressmouth in the series of the 12 Dukes. This time we meet Bastien another of the le Duc family.  He and his brother Luc run the Smithy for the town, the only smithy, which means that as they want to return to France and sell the smithy business, property and all apart from the cottage, the town will be without a blacksmith.

Alongside this we have an enterprising yung woman who runs the Cressmouth Chronicle. Her father claims to own it and run it, but a. He took her dowry to finance the purchase of the type and printer, and b. She does all the writing and printing work, he just OKs the content! So much for women’s property rights in this period.

So when she wants to write a juicier story than the usual ‘How wonderful Cressmouth is’ and ‘The town that celebrates Christmas’ etc etc they disagree. Especially when she wants to write about the Frenchmen running the Smithy…

And so a romance ensues.

The usual standard of writing we come to expect from Erica and nice content. Again we growl when we hear about the property rights of men versus women and how women are ‘ruled’ by the men in their family.. and find ourselves grateful that we no longer need a co-sponsor for our mortgages (I did when I was much younger) and that we can vote and run our own businesses.

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And the scandal was the price of bread..

One Night of Scandal Book Cover One Night of Scandal
Wicked Dukes Club
Darcy Burke
historical fiction, Regency, romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
28 May 2019

Jack Barrett is an ambitious member of parliament with no time or desire for a wife. When he catches the Duke of Eastleigh’s sister sneaking inside one of London’s private gentlemen’s clubs, he’s shocked—and dangerously charmed—and assumes the role of protector, only to discover she has the means to destroy him. Social pariah Lady Viola Fairfax masquerades as a man to pen a column in a popular women’s magazine. When she stumbles upon a brewing scandal that implicates a prominent MP, she seizes the chance to establish herself as a real journalist. However, the infuriating and intoxicating man may not be the radical he’s purported to be, and the more time they spend together, the more she risks the one thing she’s sworn never to do: fall in love.

Whilst this is a typical Regency romance in the normal trope – there is an extra fillip to this novel that I particularly liked. It made the central storyline relate to the political unrest at this time.

This was a time of rebellions on the Continent and also minor rebellions and lots of unrest at home in the UK.

The story talks about the lack of female and universal suffrage and the people who were agitating for the latter – the former had not yet crossed the men’s minds.. nor that on marriage a woman lost all right to property and money, not to mention her body.

On 28 January, 1817: Henry Bankes records that the Prince Regent’s coach was attacked as he returned after opening a new session of Parliament [https://dcc.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/bankes-archive/attack-on-the-prince-regent/]. It was never clear whether it was a bullet or bullets shot, or stones that were thrown at the coach, but it certainly worried the Govt of the time. This was period when the Tories were in power (as opposed to the Whigs) and who were predominately made up of  the aristocracy and those who were more right wing in political leanings – Whig was a term applied to horse thieves and, later, to Scottish Presbyterians; it connoted nonconformity and rebellion, whereas Tory was an Irish term suggesting a papist outlaw – so both were originally terms of abuse, that were later taken on board as ways of defining political leanings. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Whig-Party-England]. Some politicians had hereditary boroughs to represent whereby one family held the seat for many years, some MPs represented what were known as Rotten Boroughs as they were in the ‘gift’ of a peer and rarely had many voters, and thus the MP had little to no work but still received his pay.

It was during this time that there was a great deal of unrest caused by poverty for instance the Bread Riots of 1800 and 1801 caused by a lack of bread for the poorer classes; lack of universal suffrage; and of course a number of philosophers – or writers of political treatises were being printed and widely circulated. Tom Paine was one such writer and his book, the Rights of Man was considered highly treasonable. [https://spartacus-educational.com/PRspencean.htm]

In response, the Govt decided that Habeas Corpus – ‘bring me the body’ – that was a Common law writ used when it was thought that a prisoner had been unlawfully imprisoned without trial and sentence, and which was generally used to require the prisoner to be brought to trial, was suspended in 1794.  Of course, if you don’t have any real evidence but just suspicions that this person is a rebel or is undertaking treasonable acts, then you don’t want to have to produce him.

By the early 1800s Thomas Spence had established himself as the unofficial leader of those Radicals who advocated revolution and similarly to current revolutionary cells, there was no central organisation, merely local groups which were autonomous. There was an argument that “if all the land in Britain was shared out equally, there would be enough to give every man, woman and child seven acres each”. The group of people who followed Thomas Spence were known as Spenceans. Whilst many who advocated reform at this time were peaceful, others were not and by 1820 a number of violent events had been planned – all were foiled by the use of police spies.

All this political unrest and the use of Govt spies provides a nice ‘spindle’ from which this story can be spun.

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Lying is bad

I never Lie: Book Cover I never Lie:
Jody Sabral
psychological thriller,
Canelo
Pub Date 11 Jun 2018

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic, teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. But when a series of murders occurs within a couple of miles of her East London home, she's given another chance to prove herself.

Alex thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton,  B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh. 

Whilst I thought it interesting to to see the lies told to herself by Alex about how she wasn’t an alcoholic, I found the overall story too slow to capture my interest.

Alex clearly thought she was in control even though it was obvious she wasn’t and she ignored her black holes in her memory and the blackouts she experienced. And ignored the fact that she just needed a ‘little drop’ to function.

The decline of an alcoholic and the damage they do to their nearest and dearest and others they come into contact with is shown by the story but I  still didn’t manage to finish reading to the end.

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