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A Duke – that’s new

Never Have I Ever With a Duke Book Cover Never Have I Ever With a Duke
Spitfire society no.1
by Darcy Burke
Romance
Darcy E Burke Publishing
Pub Date 27 Aug 2019

Graham Kinsley is shocked when he inherits a debt-ridden dukedom, and now he has just one month to repay a loan. He needs an heiress—or find a way to recoup the former duke’s losses. When he meets the alluring Arabella, he’s entranced. Unfortunately, she’s as bankrupt as he is, but if they work together they may be able to recover their fortunes. Though if they keep stealing kisses, they may lose their hearts instead.

Arabella Stoke can’t afford an attraction to the penniless duke who has vowed to help rescue her family from financial devastation. She needs to find a wealthy husband before her father succumbs to the stress of losing everything. However, as Graham brings them closer to finding the swindler who stole their money, the war between what they want and what they need may ruin them both.

This was a well written, interesting story based around the early version of a pyramid scheme. You encourage someone to invest with you a small amount, give a great return, then you obtain bigger and bigger amounts as the returns peter out.

Meantime, these investments fund the next mug investor’s return.

In a time when there are no computers. Few detectives or police, scattered newspapers, and very little formal money management (but lots of gossip about the great amounts to be made in trade, furs, gold etc in the coffee shops of the era), this type of scheme is easy to concoct. Employ a 3rd party as the intermediary and you are well hidden. Until someone figures out your scheme and plays detective.

All layered on top of a Regency Romance.

Nice.

Darcy Burke does this. She takes a social issue and weaves it into her story, from poverty, to female emancipation, to education. It gives the stories that bit extra.

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When strange things happen in your back garden

Know Your Rites Book Cover Know Your Rites
Inspector Paris #2
Andy Redsmith
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy
Canelo
Pub Date 22 Aug 2019

Inspector Nick Paris is back in this magical crime mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch. Inspector Nick Paris, now also known as 'the one who stopped the demons', has become an unlikely celebrity in the magical world. He is desperate to return to tackling more ordinary crimes on his home turf of Manchester. However, the fates aren’t in his favour when he is called upon again by his more unusual police colleagues to solve a gruesome killing. The only suspect is a dwarf trying to make it in the rap business. But are there more mysterious matters afoot? Paris is thrust back into the world of magic and murder – but who will face the music?

Inspector Paris is back with the strange collection of friends and foes in this second of the great series set in Manchester.

We have ogres, warlocks, fairies, dwarves, elves, and the small stone child (read and see who I mean).

I thought that this book was not quite as original as book 1 as we had met all the characters before, but there were some excellent lines of text. eg ‘What makes sense depends on how you look at it’; ‘Persuasion, ..that’s one way of describing Ug the Ogre dangling Orin upside down above the station cesspit’; ‘bonetti’s heart was in the right place. even if his brain was nowhere to be found’.

I also liked the espionage cats and the rapping dwarf. Great ideas.

So overall a fun read with giggles.

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December Meetings

We Met in December Book Cover We Met in December
Rosie Curtis
women's fiction, romance
Harper Collins, Avon

his December, unlucky-in-love Jess is following her dream and moving to Notting Hill. On the first night in her new house-share she meets Alex, the guy in the room next door. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but there’s still a spark that leaves Jess imagining how they might spend the year together – never mind the house rule against dating…

But when Jess returns from her Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started seeing Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into the man of her dreams – and, apparently, the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and spend the year falling in love with London, not Alex – but what if her heart has other ideas?

A gentle love story set in London across 12 months of the year.

A great reminder too of how difficult it is to live in London on a nurse’s salary or even that of a publisher’s operational organiser.

I loved the walks around and about as this is something I like to do too. There is so much hidden history that we forget about – Battle Bridge for instance – not a Civil War battle as so many thing, but Boudicca’s last stand, and then the places where there were spas – eg Sadler’s Wells. And if you look closely, you can find the rivers that used to flow into the Thames and that the Victorian’s culverted over but one still is visible under glass – if you know where to look.  And I do!

And yes, Little Venice is pretty but for me Camden Lock and the canals further along are better – Little Venice is too touristy and well aware of its idyllic setting..

So back to the book.

Nicely written, in a good style, gently telling how people learn to know each other and that friends make great romance buddies.

Cozy but understanding the life of the singleton at 30 and the difficulties of making ends meet when you change careers later in life.

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Up high you go..

Elevator Pitch Book Cover Elevator Pitch
by Linwood Barclay
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,
HQ
Pub Date 05 Sep 2019

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets. Right to the bottom of the shaft. It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos. Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered. Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . . Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

This was a great read and I never guessed the villain of the piece! Which is always the start of a good review from me.

It was well written with characters you loved to hate as well as those you felt some empathy for; and enough central characters to confuse you.

There was the Mayor; his son; his two aides; the journalist; her daughter; and two cops to keep you interested. Their actions and interactions and links proved fascinating and often unexpected which keep the story moving along at quite a fast pace.

Ps Saudi Arabia is currently going for the building height record – the Jeddah Tower opening in 2020 will be 3,280 foot high.

Currently, Burjkhalifa in Dubai is the highest at 2.722 feet.

The New York Trade Center for comparison is 1,776 feet.

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Mayhem but not enough Magic

Magic & Mayhem Book Cover Magic & Mayhem
by Erica Ridley
Romance , Sci Fi & Fantasy
WebMotion
Pub Date 26 Jul 2019

KISSED BY MAGIC Enjoy an Outlander-meets-Frozen romantic comedy: A treasure-hunter risks an ancient curse and ends up trapped inside an icebound castle with a medieval princess! MUST LOVE MAGICPrincess Bride-meets-Office Space romantic comedy: When a magically challenged fairy jeopardizes her apprenticeship by getting involved with a sexy mortal, it's one disaster too many. In order to earn her wings, she'll have to ditch the human–and her one chance at true love. SMITTEN BY MAGIC A former corporate raider plans to redirect his money and attention toward family and good works. Unfortunately, his attempts to make things better meet with one disaster after another. His plans disintegrate further when he runs into an angelic tourist with... wings?

Another set of 4 books, re-issued from first published, revised, edited and improved. But still not quite 4 stars.

Whilst these are romantic comedies they read like they are still early stories where the author is still learning her trade – not as sophisticated as her current novels.

Some were better than others, and they all had a good twist that didn’t rehash the standard fairy story (like Red Riding Hood or Cinderella of which there are far too many on the shelves now).

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