Before anything else, Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope you had an amazing Christmas and gift exchanging rituals that would’ve added more books to your shelves. The year’s ending and I couldn’t have been more happy to clean my slate, especially my reading challenge. Anyway, I’ve a week of holidays and so many books to read but am looking forward to it because I really don’t have anything else to do apart from reading at the moment, and of course, blogging. Maybe because am not at home and all my friends have flown down to spend some family time…so cozy blankets, coffee and books it is!
Title: A Mother’s Lie
Author: Jo Crow
Genre: Drama, Mystery
When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.
Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.
Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.
With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?
A Mother’s Lie is a psychological thriller with good enough twists to keep you hooked and a writing that you can devour.
The plot follows a mother, Clara McNair’s, desperation to fund her only son, James’, cancer treatment and is left with no choice but to head back to the town where her parent’s had disappeared ten years ago…and she had become a lead suspect then. She’s approached to film a documentary in the same house of her hometown, but is once again being pointed at when bones appear there. The plot as such is quite well plotted with the twists and turns peaking the graph at the right places, though expected at places. It’s a good enough story to not put the book down but the ending became a bit evident, for me, which kind of let down my high presuppositions.
The characters are yet another one of my problems. They aren’t absolutely terrible or haven’t been developed at all, but they remain under-developed and that’s about the same thing for me. Clara has gone through a ton in her life, already, yet when she’s thrown in this situation, she ends up making mistakes that nobody
should would be making in that particular scenario. Sure, I might be acting like one of the viewers who keeps shouting at the character to not go down in the kitchen in a horror movie, but a few things could’ve been well avoided. However, that’s a completely solo take on things and it might work as a plot builder for other readers. Even the side personalities weren’t given a voice of their own and worked too predictably, which frustrated me all the more.
Why did I give it 3 stars then? Mostly for the writing. Despite the foreseeable ending, the book was gripping for most parts only because of the steadily-paced writing. There are certainly unneeded big words that often irritated me and a little too many descriptions but it was actually very well written.
Though the book didn’t impress me much, I would certainly recommend it to those looking for a thriller narrated in a gripping prose.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating or opinion about the book. Thank you Relay Publishing and Jo Crow!
Review also on Goodreads.
Title: A Sheikh For Christmas
Author: Leslie North
It may be cold outside, but the snow begins to melt when an unlikely couple comes together during the Holidays…
Christmas is right around the corner, but after creating a society scandal, New York heiress Melody Hascall-Ebons has nowhere to turn. Cut off by her family for running away with an actor—who turned out to be using her for publicity—Mel is penniless, homeless, and disgraced. There’s only one place to go, and that’s back to the fiancé she ditched. But instead of her ex, she finds his friend Daveed Rafik. The handsome military translator disarms Mel with his easy smile and surprising sympathy. But as she struggles to get her life on track, the last thing Mel needs is to fall into the strong arms of her ex-fiancé’s best friend.
Counter-terrorism expert Sheikh Daveed Rafik has spent his career dealing with delicate and dangerous situations, but none of them compares to Melody Hascall-Ebons. He’s supposed to be helping his friend Murphy find his missing sister, not consoling the spoiled rich girl who dumped their buddy Heath. But the more he learns about Melody, the more he likes. With her unexpected intelligence and distinctive beauty, Melody calls to him in powerful ways. But when the woman he is arranged to marry shows up, Daveed’s highly organized life suddenly gets very complicated.
The streets of New York are steeped in holiday cheer, but can Daveed and Melody thaw the ice around their hearts enough to make room for love?
A Sheikh For Christmas a good holiday romance that can get you heated and happy all at once.
The plot is different from the usual story lines that revolve around the hate-turned-to-love trope. Melody is stranded in New York and is left with no other option than to knock on her ex-fiance’s door, but much to her surprise, his best friend, a counter-terrorism expert, opens the door and calls himself Daveed. Though there aren’t any big enough conflicts for me to get hooked right off the bat, I still appreciated where the story headed especially in terms of character development. Melody is imperfect in her decisions and frequently ends up finding herself in grave situations that she hadn’t even expected to land in. It’s cute to see the conversations built up between the two main characters.
Having said that, the fact that Daveed, more often than not, didn’t expect much from Melody both in terms of personality and intelligence, was a bit frustrating for me. Sure, it’s great to surprise the guy with what you’re capable of but I don’t like well-built, handsome men—fictional or real—who take strong and smart females with immense astonishment as if that was the last thing they’d expected from that woman. Besides, the fact that the love develops at a comparatively faster pace than the entire story, is slightly disheartening and I would’ve certainly preferred a more steadily paced romance.
Anyhow, I would recommend this to those looking for a light and quick romance without any excessive drama to purposefully drag the story.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating or opinions about it. Thank you Relay Publishing and Leslie North!
Review also on Goodreads
Title: The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane
Author: Colin Falconer
Genre: Historical fiction, Women’s fiction
When fiery and idealistic Kitty O’Kane escapes the crushing poverty of Dublin’s tenements, she’s determined that no one should ever suffer like she did. As she sets out to save the world, she finds herself at the forefront of events that shaped the early twentieth century. While working as a maid, she survives the sinking of the Titanic. As a suffragette in New York’s Greenwich Village, she’s jailed for breaking storefront windows. And traveling war-torn Europe as a journalist, she’s at the Winter Palace when it’s stormed by the Bolsheviks. Ultimately she returns to her homeland to serve as a nurse in the Irish Civil War.
During Kitty’s remarkable journey, she reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Tom Doyle, but Tom doesn’t know everything about her past—a past that continues to haunt her. Will Kitty accept that before she can save everyone else, she needs to find a way to save herself? Or will the sins of her past stop her from pursuing her own happiness?
I’m so disappointed by this book. I picked it up for the women’s fiction that it claimed to be but ended up preferring the historical fiction references more. No doubt, it’s a women’s fiction, but not a progressive one; the female protagonist remains wherever she was at the beginning of the book. While her ideologies and concepts about the world, especially since she survives through Titanic, Lusitania and others that are in now way important to the story, are strong and ranted for the length of the book, she never practically tries to implement those on her own. She swears to be independent when she leaves her old life behind to start afresh but nothing of that sort happens when men find her for the innocent girl she is. There are stereotypes everywhere and I’ve cringed for most of the book. I hate to say it but I felt sad for not DNFing the book, I kept a change in Kitty the entire time only to have it end with another expected but unrealistically frustrating conclusion. Anyway, I would not recommend this to anyone but if you’re looking for more of a doormat than a strong female lead, you might want to pick this up.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating or opinions about it. Thank you Lake Union Publishing and Colin Falconer!
Review also on Goodreads