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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey

Title: The Christmas Project
Author: Maxine Morrey
Publisher: 14th November 2016 by Harper Collins UK HQDigital
Pages: 263 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: christmas, chick lit
My Rating: 5 crowns

Synopsis:

Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O'Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren't her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.

Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…

My Thoughts


“There was a gorgeous man, a lovely dog, a comfy bed and bacon sarnies. If Heaven doesn’t contain those things, then frankly I was far less keen to go.”

Every year around this time, I am in search of a fun chick lit read about Christmas romances. What is there not to love about both, and in the hectic pace of this time of year, one is always in need of light escapism. With just the right balance of fun, wit and a sprinkling of ‘warm fuzzies’, this Maxine Morrey book delivered the goods. My first sample of her writing and sure not to be my last. I loved this book.

“But falling for Michael had been gradual. Unplanned. Unexpected. And now unbearable.”

Is it predictable? Of course! What is chick lit without a HEA (happily ever after). Will you be hooked? Definitely! Why .... well there are a few important reasons. There is the right amount of festivities, given the season; there is a great mix of characters; there is the gradual build up of sexual tension without going over the top. However, the winner for me was the fabulous banter between these two - the shots fired at each other are, at times, hysterical.

‘Add it to my list of faults.’
‘Already done.’
‘How wonderfully efficient of you.’
‘I don’t like to disappoint.’

I also very much appreciated the Jane Eyre references, from the dog named Pilot down to the male comparisons:

“And Rochester so far appears moody, short tempered and frankly a bit of a cold fish. I’m beginning to wonder if there is more to the naming of that hound than your innocent claim of just liking the name?”

Overall, this was a great festive tale that I highly recommend to those who would  like to read something quick and easy that will make you smile and get in the festive frame of mind.

“I loved this time of year–the lights, the decorations, the music. It made me happy.”


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

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Liberation by Kate Furnivall

Title: The Liberation
Author: Kate Furnivall
Publisher: 3 November 2016 by Simon and Schuster (Australia)
Pages: 560 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5 crowns

Synopsis:

Italy, 1945: as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated cities, its population fights each other to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate - her mother has abandoned them already and her brother is being drawn into the mafia. Early one morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, she is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her family and in doing so forges a future very different to the one she expected. But will the secrets of her family's past be her downfall? This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.

My Thoughts

I have long wished to sample a Kate Furnivall book, and now I know why. It was amazing. ‘The Liberation’ is an epic tale. Long ... over 500 pages ... but gosh! Does it pack a punch! At no stage are you bored or does the story decline - tension and suspense will easily see you through these riveting pages.

“She didn’t recognise her own life any more. It was as if she had fallen into someone else’s and she needed a new map to find her way around it.”

Firstly there is the setting - post war Italy - how they survived one trauma (WWII) to be faced with an ongoing crisis of survival. Here is a tale of tragedy, as people are forced into things, against often insurmountable odds. What an amazing character Caterina is! Out to prove her father’s innocence and protect what remains of her family, you will be floored by her strength. She is a heroine in every sense of the word. In fact, each and every character has real substance, a strength and honour in their convictions and the lengths they will go to in achieving them. This is not a romance, but one cannot help but love the chemistry between Caterina and Jake.

“We think we know the people we love. But what if she were mistaken? What if the father she had loved all those years was not the man behind the bright laughing eyes and the easy way of smiling? What if she had got it all wrong?”

The way Kate Furnivall describes life in Italy, down to the smallest detail, truly captures all the fears and failings, love and compassion. Even though the war was over, its effects were still being felt and the fallout made surviving a struggle. Her writing is at times poetic in the rich descriptions of Naples and Sorrento and you will be lost back in time to this place and culture. You will be crawling over the rubble, running with the street kids and fearing for your life - such are the writing skills of Kate Furnivall.

“But here in the deep shade of old Italy, she could hear the ancient pulse of Naples, feel it vibrating in the smooth black lava slabs beneath her feet. Bombs. Gunfire. Death and starvation. Blood in the streets. Defeat and destruction.”

This is a fabulous book. A story filled with intrigue and violence, set against Italian passions of family and love. I highly recommend you embark on this journey with Caterina, dangerous as it will be, in an effort to both survive and honour all the good that remains in this war torn country.

“ the Allied Army had invaded to save the country from Hitler’s forces, but who would save Naples from itself when the soldiers were gone?”



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