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Monday, September 26, 2016

My Husband's Wife by Amanda Prowse

Title: My Husband's Wife
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: 14 July 2016 by Head of Zeus
Pages: 368 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 3 crowns

Synopsis:

Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.
She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.
But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?

My Thoughts

I was keen to try an Amanda Prowse book as she states that she wishes to write about women we feel we all know. She wishes to bring a true sense of human reality into her novels that undoubtedly will touch the reader in a number of ways. So what you have here is both a true and modern portrayal of family life - from the mundane to the tears and joys. 

'That life was the one she had always wanted; gorgeous kids, a lovely house and her man by her side.'

The exchanges between characters are true and well presented, particularly those between Rosie and her three in-laws - brother, mother and father in-law. In fact I found the most fascinating character to be Kev and wish we had of seen more of him.  I also found Rosie's father to be identifiable and interesting. 

So whilst this was an easy read, I did struggle with a few things. You know from the blurb that the husband is going to leave but that takes quite a while - almost half the book. This makes it a little frustrating, especially as the problems with the relationship are never explicit, decreasing - I believe - the emotional impact. I was not invested in their relationship. 

"I think you need to get over the idea that you can and should punish me because things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to."

There was, however, very explicit coverage of Rosie's grief and whilst I get it, I found her continual torrent of tears a little difficult to bear. At times I wanted to shake Rosie and tell her to be stronger. Did she want to fight back but just didn't know how? In many ways she was a victim of her own making.

‘And I guess the big question is this, Rosie: what are you going to do? How are you going to recapture your life?’

I also found the ending to be somewhat abrupt, the quick resolutions and neat rounding up of everything too quick. In some ways it was quite depressing in parts but as the author states she writes about women for women and there may be some out there that would 'get' this far more than I did.



This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Title: A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Publisher: 9 August 2016 by Hachette Australia - Piatkus
Pages: 464 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, sci fi, fantasy, magic
My Rating: 4 crowns

Synopsis:
Kingmaker. Soothsayer. Warrior. Mage. Kingdoms would rise and fall for her      . . .  if she is ever found

In the icy North, where magic is might, an all-powerful elite ruthlessly guided by a glacial Queen have grown to dominate the world. Now rebellion is stirring in the rough, magic-poor South, where for the first time in memory a warlord has succeeded in uniting the tribal nations.

Stuck in the middle is Cat - circus performer and soothsayer - safely hidden behind heavy make-up, bright colours and the harmless illusion of the circus. Until someone suspects she's more than she seems . . .
Captured by the Southern warlord Griffin, Cat's careful camouflage is wearing thin. For how long can - or should - she conceal the true extent of her power? Faced with dragons, homicidal mages, rival Gods and the traitorous longings of her own heart, she must decide: is it time to claim her destiny and fight?

My Thoughts

"There's magic in spoken language. It's binding. There's a reason people ask for someone else's word. Every sentence a person utters can be a promise - or a betrayal."

I'm at odds to review A Promise of Fire. From one perspective it is YA (young adult) and reads very much so. From another perspective it's fantasy and fun. At times these two seem to conflict, but overall I found it an entertaining read. It's the reader's approach that counts. You will at times cringe but ultimately I found this to be an enjoyable read, fanciful, fun and romantic. 

"You don't get it," I say ... '"she won't  let anyone take me from her." 
"You don't get it ... you're mine. Not Cat the Soothsayer. Not Cat the Kingmaker. Just Cat."

The two leads are romantic, independent and strong. Combine that with loads of adventure and magic and that easily gets it across the line. What I found refreshing is how funny it is, the banter is, at times, hilarious. Cat is spunky yet at times so unsure of herself. Griffin, whilst an 'alpha' male, is most swoon worthy - protective and considerate he will do anything for her. Then there is the 'Beta' team and ... well, the list of characters is long and interesting. So whilst at times I find the petulance perturbing, the strong characters, action, humour and romantic tension definitely wins out for me in the end. 

"You're not who you think you are. You're better, and you're more".

If steamy sex scenes don't make you blush,  then you are in for a treat. Here, is where it moves away from young adult as it is rather explicit. Going into this read with an open mind will see you rewarded with an epic read full of magic and romance. I took a star away for the immaturity that annoyed me at times and also at the beginning you really need to concentrate on not only the scenario, but also the  explanation of the kingdoms. However, throw into the mix some Greek mythology and you have a well-rounded magical fantasy read. 

“Kingdoms rise and fall for you. Because of you.”

I think A Promise of Fire will be one of those books that you don't fully appreciate until viewed as a trilogy and retrospectively. The first book has to set things up and may seem confusing and juvenile at times. But later instalments will hopefully reveal that all of this provided the necessary and natural stepping stones.  A Promise of Fire shows great potential as the author seems to have a strong sense of how this is all going to unfold. Am I excited for the second book - you betchya! 

"Something in the warmth flutters, cautious, like a nascent bird’s wings. Like a fledgling, though, I don’t know whether I’ll crash or fly."


This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release