The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

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The Stolen Marriage
Chamberlain is a faultless and very skilled writer when it come to emotion, but it seems this romance story was just ticking off the diversity and feminism  and social issues checklist with a load of cardboard/cookie cut characters which made it predictable.

What makes it original is the back drop of the polio epidemic, but a lot of it is just a Nicholas Sparks type story with a diverse cast list and a happy ending or worse better grade Harlequin Mills and Boons romance. Yeah. Whatever. Just one up from my normal harlequin mills and boons book.

Great writing, tight plot but the story that is slightly predictable. I was able to guess the reveals and twists early on but it is Chamberlain’s plotting skills and timing rather than the story that keeps the you reading.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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Homegoing

I’m giving it five stars (on goodreads) because it was a captivating novel spanning centuries, and I learnt stuff. I am richer and more learned for reading it. Put it this way, a lot of work has gone into this book to make it what it is, so the five stars.

It’s quite an ambitious project with a lot of research, so it’s understandable why the narrative is told more like a series of interlinked short stories. This was a plus for me, because it made it manageable as some characters were boring, and other very engaging. Especially in the beginning where it felt the Gyasi was setting up the novel.

The narrative is light, if this is possible with such a topic. Considerably light reading for a heavy subject, but it does cover a multiple of topics and as we get to the end, loses something – the end isn’t as powerful but it is full circle.

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Secret Miami Nights by Pamela Yaye

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Secret Miami Nights
Great book and well written. I just find the moral compass of the payoff questionable. Without giving away the story there is a big family reveal at the end but no one is held accountable, and that really ticked me off. The hero was still happy to hide behind his family wealth, blame his scheming parents and have a HEA after the reveal….

Also the hero Ashton was weak, and a mummy and daddy’s boy. I’d say weak in the sense his parents still controlled and manipulated him, even though he was a grown man. However he wanted to live that life. He wanted all the trappings of wealth and power his family gave him. He wasn’t man enough to step out in the world alone and establish himself. I think that was half trouble with this dude. Good luck to Haley with dealing with him and his mama.

Read other reviews for a balanced view. As I said it’s a great book, but I’m not sure of the underlying moral compass.

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Love in Logan Beach by Shirley Hailstock

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Love in Logan Beach (House of Thorn)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet slow burning romance, with a mystery at it’s heart. It’s a kind of Cinderella story but with difference. My only thing is that the hero had trust issues, and jumped to too many conclusions given he was a lawyer. Then again he made good. So worth reading if you want a slow paced and relaxing read.

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The Husband She Never Knew by Kate Hewitt

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The Husband She Never Knew
Not sure. If you like the totured, brooding and angsty hero type this is probably the book for you. Great writing and full of secrets or so I was lead to believe. I was waiting for the big reveal but it never happened. Well it did, but it was a pretty normal reveal in Harlequinland, so I was a tad disappointed in that. I was thinking something terrible. Well, it was terrible if normal but this is HarlequinLand so a secret needs to be more the cliched hard and brutal childhood etc.

Overall a good read, full of suspense but the reveal wasn’t all that.

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Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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Stay with Me
A beautifully written book. Ayobami Adedayo is a talented writer, however after a short while I found the baseline story too similar to The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin, and that really put me off. I was like really? It’s a different take but the same baseline narrative. I expect that from my Mills & Boon Harlequin romance novels (you know that’s mostly what I read as this blog is full of them) but not a literary novel. It’s the same circumstances with Shoneyin’s novel with a few switches, and a bit more development. There is no debate that Ayobami Adedayo is an awesome writer, but it’s like she’s writing an African trope of infertility with the normal beats. I guess I just expected something more. Again if you read for language and lyrical flow this is the book for you.

It’s not that Shoneyin owned the narrative – I’d read something decades ago along that line (to be fair it was a common Nigerian story/myth – 80s/90s, I’ve even read English books with the theme), it’s This book just felt too similar to ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ even down to the character’s body functions, and some other mundane day to day activities (perhaps expected of African novels?). Baba Segi used to soil himself and in this book a few of the characters end up doing that. There was also obligatory visit to the church and prophets, the other wives and babalowo (medicine man) etc. Yes, you can say its the culture but to me, if feels like I’ve read the baseline story before.

However, it’s definitely a beautiful book to read, full of emotion. You can feel all the hard work that has gone to make the prose flow. If feels every word has been laboured over, and selected thoughtfully. There is precision. It’s also easy to get lost in. So worth reading.

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The Boss’s Nine-Month Negotiation by Maya Blake

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The Boss's Nine-Month Negotiation

It was well written -actually superb writing, but I just didn’t like the hero, so couldn’t stomach reading him so stopped reading after a while. I thought he was a nasty piece of work who needed a restraining order. Seriously.

ALSO before the story started, they had been LIVING TOGETHER for SIX MONTHS, you’d think by then time the jerk would figure he was in love, or at least cared about the heroine.

However some alpha-male  loving romance fans may love this so  read other reviews for balance.
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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now by Jane B. Burka

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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now
This book is more likely USEFUL if you are STUCK or DESPERATE otherwise it will probably be tossed aside as a dry and boring and tedious read. And you probably need to be past your early thirties with ‘where the hell has my life gone’ moments. Otherwise probably not much use.

This book is about confronting the important things or goals we put off in life.

I say this because I’ve read a lot of bad reviews, and I agree with them. I also agree with the good ones.  However the bad reviewers  probably wanted motivation and inspiration and easy answers. But this book isn’t about motivation or inspiration or telling people they can reach for the stars and be who ever they want to be. No. This book isn’t about giving self-validation. This book is about having a HARD REALITY CHECK. It also promises no MIRACLES or CURES or QUICK FIXES – if it did it would have sold millions of copies!

I’ll say it again, if I wasn’t in the place where I was, I would have chucked it out, given it zero stars but I persevered. I also was completely honest with myself so though 99% of the book didn’t apply to me (nor will it to you), there was 1% of the book that did. Probably only about 30 pages in different places were relevant.

WHAT DOES IT DO THEN

It just points out reasons why you may be procrastinating (from a psychology point of view) and then gives coping strategies to help achieve plans. So no cures, no inspiration, no motivation. What you put in is what you get out of it. It’s hard work. It also takes time. BUT IT WORKS! At least for me. I’s also more like a different type of time-management strategy book, so I use it as that.

RESULTS

I managed to do a few things I was procrastinating about, and also got a 40% pay raise. So now I’m in a different income bracket. I’m still using it as a guide book because I have a few more big things I need done. Some are easier than others. It’s also slightly changing my approach to dealing with some tasks, so I’m much quicker.

VERDIT

So if you need something different after reading all those motivational books that make you feel better but with no results. Buy this. Struggle through reading it. Take what applies to you, use the methods. Keep at it and see if it makes a difference in your life.

Bought for Her Innocence by Tara Pammi

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Bought for Her Innocence (Greek Tycoons Tamed #2)
Strong start, very emotional and lots of angst. It’s a good story but I got a bit bored with the characters always clashing with each other, a little too much angst for me. The main intimate scene is delayed for rather a long time, and at times that can make a story drag. So if you are patient reader and don’t mind waiting to way past the middle for that SOMETHING to HAPPEN, then this is your book.

About the story? Jasmine is a pole dancer whose brother has been very naughty in underground gambling/strip club. This leads Jasmine into a bit of bother when he dies and leaves her serving his debt. Serving is probably the right word there – without getting too seedy. Things go a bit awkward when the debt is called in and Jasmine can’t pay – so of course, it goes a bit seeder. Lots of stuff happen, and we get to meet the hero, Dmitri. Plenty of angst, past history, and sizzling chemistry sets this book alight.

Saying that, I’m curious about other story – book 1 – with Leah and Starvos so I may hunt that down.

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