Review: Stable Mates

Stable Mates
Stable Mates by Zara Stoneley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. I was in love with the cover and summary when I originally saw this on Netgalley. So what's a girl to do when she's turned down to read and review on Netgalley? She bloody damn pre-orders it and squees with glee when it downloads on debut day and gets to reading. Let me just say that this one had me at "Footballer's Wives". I loved that show and I still miss it so I was thrilled to get to take this trip to Cheshire with the tony horsey set and the over the top celebrities and wannabe strivers.

I did think the death of Marcus and how this put into motion all the chaos and angst of the Tippermereians over Folly Lake Manor and the wider equestrian centre took a little long to get going especially after the opening. I do get that there was quite a cast to introduce however so possibly that couldn't be helped. I liked Lottie but I honestly never bought Rory's love for her. There's charmingly aloof and then there's Rory. I didn't really root for Lottie to get her man so much as get over his wishy-washy nature. Still, I loved her interactions with her grandmother, Elizabeth and her fraught relationship with her father, Billy & uncle, Dom. Amanda was well done and I enjoyed Pip as well. I truly felt Stoneley was fabulous at describing the comedic chain reactions set off by people, dogs or horses, alike. It was very vivid in the telling and made me laugh throughout. I give nothing but kudos to all things related to "the wedding". It was perfect and everything you wonder about as you flip through Tatler. I was having Kyle/Chardonnay wedding flashbacks. There were plenty of sexy times throughout but I didn't think it was over done nor exceedingly spicy but it was fun. I do admit that I wasn't adoring any of the men as romantic options but they did serve their purposes well.

All in all, I'm very glad that I read this and I would read another by the author any time. Definitely recommended if you need something to read while travelling or on a weekend. It won't change your life but you'll have some fun.

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Review: Yesterday's Kin

Yesterday's Kin
Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book I read by Nancy Kress was Beggars In Spain and I loved it so I was very glad to have the opportunity to read this one. First contact stories are a favorite of mine and this one didn't disappoint though I did have a feeling throughout that there wouldn't be enough time to tell a satisfying story. I must admit that my worry was mostly for naught. By the end, it felt fairly complete and I chalk my want of more answer to some things (Noah and the sugarcane, why people with the extra haplogroup get the invites to the Deneb homeworld) to being a greedy reader. I won't spoil but I will say that I didn't exactly see the twist with the Denebs coming and it was a well done reveal. I also liked how Marianne's family and their relationships to one another played out. It felt uncomfortably real.

I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Kress & also to science fiction fans in general. It was a very quick read and is the sort that stays with you, hovering in the back of your mind for some time after you've read it. Absolutely well done. As always, time spent reading Kress is time well spent and I look forward to her next.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Priya in Heels

Priya in Heels
Priya in Heels by Ayesha Patel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been skipping many New Adult titles recently because I've reached the limit of my tolerance for sameness and histrionic angst I've kept running into so when I saw Priya In Heels on Netgalley & read the blurb, I jumped at the chance to read something a bit different. I'm so glad I had the chance to read this. Priya was very engaging and I could relate to her. I did begin to find her putting off of her love for Tyler and underscoring how she'd only marry a man her parents approved, annoying but mostly because she seemed not to let Tyler go. It was a bit like she didn't want him for keeps but she didn't really want him to move on either. I said aloud many times, "Priya, you can't have it both ways!".

I enjoyed how Priya's relationship with her parents was shown and how sometimes their perception of her or her of them didn't quite line up in fact. It was very believable that anticipation of reactions and expectations of family members are often out of line with what actually happens even when all parties involved love one another and everyone wants their way. I won't spoil but I did like that both Tyler and Manuk were good and charming men. I was hoping the story wouldn't go in the all too trodden direction where one or the other had to be made into a complete prat to make the choice obvious for Priya or the reader. Thank you, author. Really.

While the romance is present in the story, I truly found the familya and friends bit to be the most poignant and engaging. For the final 10% of the story, I smiled, laughed and teared up with all that happened between Priya and her father and their trip to India. It was lovely and so very meaningful to me.

Finally, I won't give away which guy Priya goes for but I'll say now, you always choose the man who's the BSG fan. Though, I did have to wonder about Priya's choice of Apollo. If anyone in the BSG-verse was a toxic wasteland to the feminine psyche, it's Lee Adama. Ah, well, some of us would just have to make do with Anders & Helo. ;)

I received a free copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks.

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Review: Hopelessly Devoted to You

Hopelessly Devoted to You
Hopelessly Devoted to You by Jill Steeples

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute, quick and mostly fun read. I admit now that I really liked Finn, pre and post injury (in fact, I took some perverse glee in his lack of a filter after his accident and how it put Ruby off kilter). Ruby I liked initially, then didn't much, then did quite a lot. Ruby's voice was clear but in the beginning she was so down on herself that I began to wonder why Finn was with her and why I should care about her myself. Then there was the problem of her never having been in love with her fiancee for the ten years their relationship spanned. I'd truly have thought it would be difficult for me to pull for things to work out for Ruby and Finn but alas, I did and I cared lots.

I loved how Ruby was resolute in standing by Finn after his accident and how she expressed often that though she may not have been passionately in love with him, she loved him dearly. I also liked her affinity for his parents. For Finn's part, he was a genuinely nice guy to start and that never changed. Ruby always had his heart and that was endearing. Finn voiced my favorite quote of the book "When I'm struggling to find the right word and it just won't come. Or when I'm desperately trying to remember how the hell to do some stupidly simple task that a kid could do, like sending a text or using the microwave. Or when I drop something again. Have you any idea how it makes me feel? Stupid, so bloody stupid. But you know what keeps me going? Knowing you're there, Ruby. It makes everything so much easier to cope with. I mean, you wouldn't want to marry me if I was completely hopeless, would you?" So. Much. Aw.

Consequently, this was a page-turner and I found myself wanting to read the last chapter just to satisfy my curiosity. I'm not telling what happens so go read it for yourself and enjoy the ride. I'm rooting for Laura and Hugo.

Many thanks to Carina UK for giving me a copy to read via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Defenders

Defenders by Will McIntosh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one. This is the third book by Will McIntosh that I've read and he's quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I'm the one who always wondered what the hell the Republic was going to do with all those clones should they win. The humans in Battlestar Galactica got far more than they bargained for when they created the Cylons. Jurassic Park was less exciting and fun for humans once the exhibits sought to dine on the visitors. The scientists in the show Manhattan are racing Heisenberg in creation of an atomic weapon in hopes of ending war but having no idea of the actual consequences & impact on humanity it will make long after they're gone. I love stories where humans set out to create something and are faced with realizing that they never had control of their creations to begin with and now have to devise a way to deal with the consequences or more simply, survive them. Defenders was a great story that delved deeply into that and turned on its head the idea of friend, ally, foe and enemy. In the resolution none are wholly good or evil and there's a good measure of fear and distrust held by Luyten and human. I'd recommend this to fans of such scifi stories and fans of McIntosh. I'll surely read his next offering.

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