Review of Marrying a Stranger by Anna Jacobs – 4 Stars

Marrying a StrangerMarrying a Stranger by Anna Jacobs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, the plot of this book is what drew me in, it is really intriguing. Megan was orphaned as a child and went to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin. Despite adoring her new family as an adult she decides to return to the area of her childhood. During her journeys, she accidentally ends up rescuing Ben from being pick-pocketed. In return, they end up spending a few days together and the attraction between them grows. When Ben unveils he has to move away to Australia she is heartbroken, but then he surprises her by asking her to marry him so that she can go with him. Megan agrees but the rocky road of marriage is long and complicated. What will her family think? What are Ben’s family like? How will she feel being provided for when she has always worked and paid her own way? All these questions and more provide Megan with plenty of turmoil, throw in Ben’s overbearing ex that is desperate to win him back and you just don’t quite know which way the story will go? Can the newlyweds really make their marriage work?

The writing style is a little old fashioned and the story a little slow at times. But, in saying this, there is nothing wrong with a bit of good wholesome romance now and again. The settings were quite quirky in this novel, however the author never let Megan stay anywhere for the reader to become too familiar with the setting (I’m not sure if this was deliberate or not to show Megan’s discomfort at being constantly moved) but it did mean that the reader has to read quite a lot of descriptions from quite a few places. The first hotel and then the house towards the end of the novel were both brilliant locations, particularly the house.

I think Megan is an interesting character, it feels a bit like she’s going through a mid-life crisis. She feels she has a boring job and is yearning for something more. The solution = marry a stranger and move to the other side of the world. Yet somehow as a reader, you do root for her. Ben is a lot more complicated character. He’s very distant and I think as a reader it takes a while to warm to him (and to understand why Megan is so enamoured) – think of a boring Mr Grey. Although the good thing about that is it means he develops later in the novel and you do end up liking him, I just felt as a reader it takes a little longer for you to start to like him. Apart from that, the other characters are pretty good especially Ben’s ex as soon as she appears you mistrust her, dislike her and are ready for her to get her comeuppance – haha!

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Very light, easy summer reading. This is the first Anna Jacobs book I have read and I have already ordered another from this author! For those that enjoy this type of novel, I would recommend Diary of a Whitby Girl by Jessica Stirling. It is historical fiction but a really enjoyable slower paced romance.

Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.

View all my reviews

A Trysting Place -#writephoto

Every year they met here.

Three long days together, no job, no kids, and no mortgage to worry about.

All the worries are forgotten at the doorstep.

Just the two of them wrapped in each other’s arms, soaking up the positive energy that draped over them in this magical place.

They actually spoke to each other. For hours and hours, they talked, sipping wine and laughing together.tryst-photo-by-sue-vincent

Most importantly they listened to each other.

To all the little things, the sorrows and triumphs.

They reminisced all their cherished memories.

At the end of the three days, they stood in silence looking out at the rising sun.

Soon they would depart, back to their lives and their problems.

As they stood under the canopy she gave him a secretive smile, he lowered his head and kissed her lightly on the lips, before leaning in further and sweeping his large comforting arms around her.

A year seemed a lifetime in this moment.

As they lifted their bags and locked the door, the smile returned to both of their faces, they would soon be back and the wait would be worth it.

Their secret to a lasting marriage – time.


My response to Sue’s wonderful photo prompt. Maybe it’s all the valentine’s romance couples were sharing over the last week but I felt my story needed a happy ending. I think as everyday life often gets in the way it’s easy for a couple to forget what is magical and special about each other. This is my little tribute to the couple’s that manage to carve out a little time for themselves even if it is once a year, a precious meal, a stolen moment, it’s often hard to capture but it’s worth it.

If you want to give the prompt a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Tryst #writephoto and join in the prompt.KL ❤

Review of Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella – 4 Stars

Can You Keep a Secret?Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the summary describes, Emma is a nervous flyer, when she gets on a very turbulent flight, she anxiously spills all her secrets to the passenger next to her. With relief she gets off the plane and tries to forget it ever happened, only to find out that the man she divulged her deepest darkest secrets to… is the boss of the company she works for. However, far from being put off by Emma’s outbursts he seems to take delight in being in her company and if he can make a little statement that Emma knows is directed at one of her little black lies, even more joyful for him. Can Emma recover from the embarrassment and compose herself to work alongside him? Only time will tell.
This book follows Sophie Kinsella’s quirky playful writing style and what the story lacks in storyline, it does make up for in sarcasm, and that strange delight in watching it go wrong for our heroine. In classic rom-com Bridget-jones-style-humour, you really do wonder if she can get any more embarrassed. Yet that is also the book’s main attraction, our heroine gets up, dusts herself off (or I should say powers through the blushing statement) and just waits until the next embarrassment takes hold.
I wasn’t overly fond of Emma as a character, she does tend to strike you as a bit of a bimbo rather than someone who just happens to be that unlucky. Still, that makes it easier when stuff doesn’t quite go her way. By the end of the book though you are willing her to get her happily ever after.
My overall opinion is this isn’t as good as the shopaholic series, those storylines are better and the characters in it are a little more fun. However this really isn’t a bad book, I did enjoy it, a very light, fun and easy read.
Please leave a helpful vote if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.

View all my reviews

Review of Rules for a Perfect Life by Niamh Greene – 3.5 Stars

Rules for a Perfect LifeRules for a Perfect Life by Niamh Greene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My review for this is really a 3.5 Stars.
Maggie has a taste for the nicer things in life, she has a nice man, a nice job and a love of nice handbags. On a whim, she decides nice isn’t good enough for her and ditches her fella. Soon after she finds herself out of a job due to the housing market crash and finds herself in need of a new home too. With few other options when her friend offers her the chance to move out to the country to house sit for her, Maggie accepts. She soon finds out country life is not all it’s cracked up to be!

Niamh Greene has a very easy to read writing style, and I would suggest Marion Keyes fans will adore her. My only concern is the story felt a little drawn out (however that may just be this novel or my own preference). The story followed the typical rom-com structure and I enjoyed it as an easy light-hearted read.

While Maggie as a character did get a fair few drama’s thrown at her to deal with, I actually found her character a little frustrating. She came across as a bit spoilt and selfish and it took me a while to get behind her and start willing her to get the guy (haha). Although some of her sarcasm was top notch. The guy, however, came across as lovely, single devoted father, hard-worker, and all-round family man. You really do want him to get his happily ever after.

The tale was very similar to those by Marion Keyes, I would say Greene is not quite as good as Sophie Kinsella or Helen Fielding but similar in a lot of ways.

A good, enjoyable holiday read, I would certainly read more from this author but I do think it could have been even better.

View all my reviews

Stepping Stones – #writephoto

She walked hastily to the stones. It was her favourite time sneaking across to see him. All her friends told her no. She would get in so much trouble, but it was worth it for those few hours in his arms. They would run through the woods together, share sandwiches together. Last time it had been even more exciting, he had placed a daisy in her hair and leant in and kissed her. She couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to do it again.Even the rain couldn’t dampen her spirits.

She skipped happily towards the bay, but on arrival was devastated to see that the water was too high and the stone crossing was hidden beneath the waves. He waved to her from the other side but with little she could do, they both turned away. She stepped slowly and gloomily down the bay until she came across a stone shelter, glancing back she decided she wasn’t too far away, she could wait here until it was clear and then surprise him.

Nestled in she waited for hours listening to the water. Finally, her eyelids became heavy and she drifted off to sleep. She awoke with a start, then remembering where she was and her plan she looked out of her cave towards the stepping stones, they were clear. Clumsily she started to climb from the shelter. Her excitement mounted as she watched him emerge from the trees, had he waited for her too? Then from behind him stepped a girl. That was when she noticed, his hand was entwined in hers and the girl wore a daisy in her hair. To rub salt into the wound, he stopped and kissed the girl.

Walking back from the shelter to her home, her sanctuary, she wiped the dripping tears. She would never tell the others what happened by the stepping stones.

 

Stepping Stones by Sue Vincent

Stepping Stones Image by Sue Vincent

 

 


Originally Written in response to Daily Echo’s #WritePhoto challenge. Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by Wednesday 27th July and link back to Sue’s blog.

Review of The Execution by Sharon Cramer – 5 Stars

The Execution (The Wintergrave Chronicles #1)The Execution by Sharon Cramer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a medieval thriller set in the fourteenth century which tells the stories of two young men; Ravan and D’ata. Unknown to the young men until they first meet, they are orphaned twins. Each man has lived a troubled life, entirely different from the other and recounts his tale of his joys and his sorrows. Time ticks as one of the young men is condemned as a killer and due to be hanged.
I loved the historical origins of this plot, an orphanage, a farm girl, a priest and a mercenary. Others have pointed out about historical inaccuracies but I think the story-telling was so prominent any inaccuracies didn’t detract from the story for me.
The characters Ravan and D’ata were both well written, if anything they could have been expanded upon as I definitely found myself wanting to know more about their world. Each had their own strengths, their own weaknesses and their own trials to overcome without the story becoming repetitive. Smaller characters were also interesting without detracting from the main characters story too much. There also wasn’t so many of them that it became confusing which is often the case with these dual storyline novels.
This is written very well, the descriptive writing lets you really immerse in the novel and its powerful storyline. The flashbacks by each young man were split and timed very well along you to understand both storylines but never long enough to forget the precious characters section.
I was pleased to find out this is actually a series and I’m interested to see how it continues. As mentioned, a lot of the smaller characters were quite intriguing themselves and I wonder if they develop more in the later books. All in all a really enjoyable novel and a great start to a new series.

View all my reviews

Romance is what you make it!

There is a saying out there that goes something like:

“There is no such thing as a perfect man,

And there is no such thing as a perfect marriage,

But the man I married is perfect for me.”

This is how I feel about my wonderful husband, he drives me crazy so often I struggle to remember if I ever was sane to begin with!
We smile, we joke, mostly we laugh – a lot. Sometimes that’s at him (well he does sing to the dogs regularly when he thinks I’m not listening), and sometimes that’s with him (last week he did come home and bent over in front of me to show me the huge split in his work trousers!), but laughter is probably the most important thing we do together.

our_wedding_flowers

These are the flowers my husband had delivered to me on the morning of our wedding. They are my favourite colour (blue), in the UK this is a difficult colour of flower to find in August and we couldn’t afford to have blue flowers for our ceremony or centre pieces but he made sure I still had a bunch on our wedding day.

Romance is what you make it!