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How Tall?

The Seduction of Tallchief Book Cover The Seduction of Tallchief
by Doreen Owens Malek
Romance , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 3 Sep 2019

THE SEDUCTION OF TALLCHIEF concerns the criminal pursuit of a multi-millionaire serial child molester, George Walden, who has used his wealth and connections to escape detection for decades. A reluctant, unconventional agent, Jefferson Tallchief, is sent into Walden’s New Jersey mansion to assemble the case against him. The relationship that develops between Walden’s bitter and reclusive daughter, Victoria, and the new hire acting as her driver forms the core of the story. As they get to know one another, their prejudices (he’s Native American and she’s mostly WASP) dissipate and a bond slowly develops between them. While Tallchief works covertly to uncover evidence that will bring Walden to justice, he’s increasingly conflicted about his deceptive role in Victoria’s life. Just when he has a major breakthrough that means he can put Walden in prison for good, Tallchief must deal with a shocking twist that changes the dangerous game entirely. The story builds to a tension filled climax which will determine the future of all the players involved. This riveting blend of suspense and romance makes a compelling, satisfying read.

As the author herself says, there is a certain fascination with a Native American as hero, especially if they look like this author makes them! The archetype that is portrayed of a strong, silent, deep person, with hidden emotions, capable and surprising and loyal.

This is how she writes Tallchief and provides him as a foil to the pale, apparently weak, heroine of the story. Someone he could rescue, cherish and take away from her cage and set her free to flourish.

But it turns out that she has hidden depths too, and is more capable than he imagined.

The father is the villain here, and his crimes are very nasty indeed.

Overall a nicely crafted story but not original in concept even if different in delivery.

And just FYI. This author has written a series of 4 novels earlier in her career about Native American heroes and the storyline is very similar. The heroine is nearly always blonde and pale and from the North, and they are mostly set in Florida. Basically, she writes the same story with slightly different settings and careers and backgrounds, but always with two different ethnicities and cultures at play.

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Daring…

I Dare You b Book Cover I Dare You b
Sam Carrington
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Avon
29 Nov 2019
416

AN INNOCENT GAME. A SHOCKING CRIME. A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS.   Mapledon, 1989 Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home. The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared. No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars. The village could sleep safe once again. Now… Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past. 30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party. Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

This was not a story that I got on with. I found it too slow moving even though I attempted it twice. Sorry!

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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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Cottage of your dreams?

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane Book Cover Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane
Ellen Berry
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Avon
November 11, 2019
384

Curl up with this uplifting festive read – perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

Last winter she had a plan.

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Oh what a mother! Seriously needs to be told to get a life – for herself – get a hobby, look after her husband’s health and butt out of her daughter’s life.

That said, despite the well written mother’s character, the whole story never grabbed me. It seemed to meander along gradually coming to an end with no great reveal, no drama and no real emotional empathy.

It needs humour and editing to become a sharper piece of writing. For me, the ‘bleakness’ never really felt true. A cosy story that lacked originality and intensity

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Down and out in Kensington

Miss Lottie's Christmas Protector Book Cover Miss Lottie's Christmas Protector
(Secrets of a Victorian Household, Book 1)
Sophia James
Fiction, (Mills & Boon Historical)
HarperCollins UK
October 31, 2019
368

A Christmas mission... ...with the scarred and brooding gentleman! Part of Secrets of a Victorian Household: Working in her family’s charity foundation for destitute women, caring but impulsive Miss Lottie Fairclough is desperately trying to find a missing woman. She’s roped in family acquaintance Mr Jasper King to help her, equally impressed and annoyed when he rescues her from perilous danger! As she gets to know the injured entrepreneur, it seems he needs her just as much…

This is an historical novel that has the normal features of the genre with the added benefit of a discussion of some of the social ills of the time. I always think that this adds an extra element of interest as I enjoy reading about social or political history.

Set in London and around Kensington, which is of course, one of the most expensive and poshest areas of London, it was also notorious in the late 19th century for the Jennings Buildings.

Just FYI Magpie is slang for a thief – as we all know what magpies do, and magpies lived in the Jennings Buildings, hance the name Old Pye Street.  Jennings built 81 two storey wooden tenements grouped over 5 courts, meant for 200 or so inhabitants. He built 49 toilets to serve the 5 courts.

At the time this story was set there were probably over 1000 people living in the Irish Rookery as the Jennings Buildings became known. At least 800 of the inhabitants were known to be Irish. The Irish peasants and labourers and their families had emigrated to London in vast numbers over the 19th century due to poverty, illness and famine and crowded into what accommodation they could get however unsanitary. The men tended to be construction workers and fruit pickers and the women worked the laundries.

Here’s an interesting historical note to add to this, in the early 20th century the Irish immigrated a little further afield many into Kilburn, North London, which became known as Little Ireland and were supporters of the IRA. But the men were still labourers and ‘bogtrotters’ ie from farm land, and the  women who emigrated tended to go into the care and nursing industries and wouldn’t marry them! Too poorly educated and bad tempered. I know this from my Irish friends in that area…

As for the Jennings Buildings they were so notorious they were demolished in 1873 and a very large house was built on the many acres, by a gentleman called Grant . Grant was riding high and generally enjoyed public confidence. In this period he resolved to build a vast house in its own grounds close to Kensington Palace, on the combined sites of the previous Kensington House, Colby House, the slums of Jennings Buildings and associated plots. In 1872 he proceeded to buy the freeholds of Kensington House and Colby House and to demolish them. (British History Online.)

 Next year he purchased the freeholds of Jennings Buildings and other properties on and behind the east side of Kensington Square. Here the prices are known: £14,000 for one tract including Nos. 2 and 3 Kensington Square, £11,000 for another, and £2,000 for a ragged school run by the parish.  Commentators of the time marvelled that Grant did not resort to law to eject the tenants of Jennings Buildings. He simply paid them off as necessary and let them carry off any woodwork they wanted, so accelerating the work of destruction. 


Grant’s expenditure on buying the land and building his new Kensington House was estimated to have been about £300,000 but by 1882 the house was up for sale by Grant’s creditors as he owed so much and In June the first sale of materials occurred; portions of the marble stairs were acquired for installation at Madame Tussaud’s,

So after the history lesson, did I enjoy the book? Yes, not only because it enabled me to delve into some social history, but also because it was true to life and well written.

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