Marry For Love (2016) by Christina Courtenay is a wonderful read.
The book follows the story of protagonist Delilah who pretends she has been with Hamish to save him from being caught up in a loveless marriage with her twin sister Deborah. In the era in which this book is set that set Delilah up for public disgrace but she had to save him because she is a good person and she is in love with Hamish. In the aftermath of the wedding which wasn’t a wedding Delilah flees with Hamish and begins working for him. Though he at first offers marriage she does not wish to take advantage of him. However Deborah begins plotting and decides she is going to try everything to try to keep control of her sister.
This is definitely one part love story. There is a gradual love story which develops over time between Delilah and Hamish bringing the story out of Delilah’s previous fantasies for them as a couple. Their chemistry is pretty obvious from the start and though they are quite different, they are quite similar too. They are attracted to the differences between them and get each other too.
But the story is also a quest to escape power. Delilah has clearly been persecuted by her sister throughout her life and seeing Hamish being a new possible target for her sister’s abuse stirred something naturally in her to act and put a stop to this. In doing so though she managed to untangle herself from that uneven balance of power that she had grown to maybe not think was right but which she had grown to accept as just a part of life. And yes, you go girl, we like to see that darling.
The story was obviously well thought out and the parts fit together well. I could see what was going to happen at the end quite a bit before it happened though. I would have liked a bit of suspense on that score because it was supposed to be the big ending I think. But otherwise I really enjoyed the story. Endings are immensely hard to write. They are the hardest thing to write often so I don’t think it takes too much away from the story really.
A great read.
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Maiden’s Hap (2019) by Carolyn Hughes is a fantastic short read.
The novella is a Meonbridge Chronicles story and follows Eleanor whose mother dies during birth at the beginning of the story. After her mother’s passing, she begins to keep the household running and is a huge source of help to her father. She loves the country life and looking after the sheep but also would one day like to marry a man and become a mother. Her father remarries and she hasn’t a fantastic relationship with her new stepmother. In the meantime her father decides he has neglected finding a suitor for Eleanor for too long and decides to put her needs before his after not doing so while he was caught up in the joys he was in with her stepmother. But will the man her father chooses be a good fit for Eleanor?
I think for such a short read the author really does help the reader to get to know many of the characters. Betha is an older employee in the house who features prominently and is clearly a huge source of support for Eleanor. For the most part the two are very likeable though I have to say there was a bit of snobbery towards Eleanor’s stepmother while she was making advances towards Eleanor’s father which showed quite an ugly flaw in their personalities. I was glad the author included this though because it showed the class and social status discrimination which often goes on in the world. Not that I was mad about the stepmother. She is my least favourite character in the book but fair where fair is due. She is quite controlling it seems and manipulative and I wouldn’t blame Eleanor wishing to get away from home after her arrival. I like most of the characters though but I think my favourite is the shepherd Walter. He seems so easy-going and down-to-earth and seems really good with the sheep. He seemed really nice. I also really liked the cook. He seem really interesting and had a lot about him.
There was many interesting elements the author brought into the story fleetingly but which were good to see there. Things like how Eleanor seems a bit self-conscious about how she looks which a lot of people feel, how Eleanor is not an expert on sex which not everyone is and the peer pressure she faces for wishing to remain in certain situations with her father instead of her friends. These are situations which happen a lot to people and therefore will be relatable to a lot of readers which will hopefully make them feel less alone and not weird because they aren’t weird at all.
An excellent read.
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Here is my latest Beauty On A Budget look. Hope you all like it. 🙂
Use Miss Beauty London’s Flawless Matte Foundation – Translucent and the middle colour on the top and bottom lines of the Cosmetic Connections Blusher/Powder palette on your face and neck. In the same palette use the first colour on the top line on your cheeks. Highlight cheeks gently with the two bottom colours in the highlighter palette from the Golddigga 24 Carat Glam Set and also do the same with the Gold Glitter from the same set. Brush eyebrows and put the black colour from Max & More’s 12 Color Eyeshadow Palette on your eyebrows.
Use the Bronze Metallic Eye Pencil from the Golddigga set on your eyelids and under your eyelids. Put Max & More’s Mascara With Argan Oil – black on your eyelashes. Put the Gold Metallic Eye Pencil on your lips and cover with Miss Beauty London’s Lipstick Sealer.
The Loss Of The Titanic, 1912 (1999) by Tim Coates and Uncovered Editions is an amazing book which includes the report by the government about the disaster, a section about the expenses which the Board of Trade and other government departments paid out and the Right Honourable Cecil Parkinson MP’s opinion of events after the Titanic was discovered in 1985.
I found the book really interesting and informative. It was very well put together and the sections really worked well together. It is definitely more a detailing of the facts and doesn’t really go too much into the human side of the disaster which I think is what the book was intended as. While I would personally prefer a book which talks about the human side and the stories of the people on board more I think that is just my personal taste as a reader. This book is perfect for what it sets out to do and will suit readers who are simply looking for facts and opinions on the stats and possibilities and facts about how the Titanic sank. There is a lot of sea-related terms which did sometimes go above my head but there is a very helpful glossary of nautical terms which accompanies this book which helps somewhat. Obviously there is so many sea-related terms that they couldn’t include everything in the glossary.
It is a great book and really helps readers to know more about the disaster and gives you a real insight into the aftermath at the actual time and later. So well put together and looks at the events from several different points of view. It is great that a book like this is out there with all this information in it of different sources all in one place making it very accessible for people to learn.
To purchase The Loss Of The Titanic, 1912 by Tim Coates and Uncovered Editions go to:
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Here is my latest Beauty On A Budget post. Hope you all like it. 🙂
Use Miss Beauty London’s Flawless Matte Foundation – Translucent and the middle colour on the top and bottom lines of the Cosmetic Connections Blusher/Powder palette on your face and neck. In the same palette use the first colour on the top line on your cheeks. Brush eyebrows and put the black colour from Max & More’s 12 Color Eyeshadow Palette on your eyebrows and under your eyes. Use Miss Beauty London’s Eye Crayon – Cocoa on your eyelids. Put Max & More’s Mascara With Argan Oil – black on your eyelashes.
Put Miss Beauty London’s Lipstick – Russet on your lips and put Miss Beauty London’s Lipstick Sealer over it.
Fear (2018) by Dirk Kurbjuweit is a fantastic read.
The book follows Randolph who is living next to a neighbour from hell Dieter with his wife and two children. Dieter begins to make their lives hell when he makes up false accusations that Randolph and his wife are abusing their children. At the start of the book we are told that Randolph’s father is in prison for the manslaughter of Dieter before the story goes back in time.
This book is quite psychological in many parts and there is a lot about how human minds operate and how events shape, don’t shape and are perceived to shape a human’s life alongside the plot of Dieter harassing and threatening Randolph and his family. I think both elements work well together and combined give the book a sense of reality. We really get to know the characters, their lives now and their pasts. A lot of work was clearly was put into creating these characters by the author. There is also very interesting parts about how your status in society can have its advantages and disadvantages no matter where you fall on that status spectrum. It is difficult to find too many likeable characters in the book but definitely complex and interesting characters. Neither of the two central characters for instance are the most likeable people you are going to meet. Dieter for obvious reasons. Randolph is also not terribly likeable though. He is quite up himself, very snobby and definitely thinks he is better than people.
The book also deals with many issues like gun violence and ownership, traumatic childhoods and unhappy marriages. I think a lot was packed in here and it is definitely not your conventional thriller which is certainly not a bad thing. It’s definitely quite thought-provoking in many parts. My only flaw with the book and it is a very hard thing to get right in thrillers is the ending. The ending makes complete sense but it isn’t exactly shocking and you would nearly know the ending from the start and if not long before the end. That is the only negative I have about the book though. It is really well-written and clearly very well thought out and put together. It would just be that my personal taste in a thriller is that I don’t see the ending coming but a really fantastic read.
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Daughter of the Flames (2008) by Zoë Marriott is a very enjoyable read.
The book is the first in the Ruan books by the author and follows Zahira who has been through it from the start of her life to say the least. She lost her mother to murder when she was young. After surviving from the fire her mother perished in she is raised as her own by another woman. The fifteen-year-old soon has much responsibility on her shoulders as the Rua people are in battle with the Sedorne people who have occupied their country. Zahira is half Rua and half Sedorne and soon she finds herself as the leader of the Rua people on a mission to bring the Rua people and the Sedorne people together.
I really liked the book. It has a little bit of everything in it. Adventure, romance and commentary on social issues. The romance element I found a bit strange though as I wasn’t too sure of what the age gap was but I think her boyfriend and then husband was in his twenties so I constantly had that in the back of my mind reading their parts together. Maybe I got it wrong so apologies if that is the case but it came across that way and that obviously put me off the romance element of the story. Otherwise the romance had a good premise. A woman who was half Rua, half Sedorne and a man who was Sedorne falling in love allows many questions to be put forward in the plot and moves the plot along and they clearly care about each other other. If they had of been closer in age if I got about their ages right it would have totally worked for me. It was just hard to get over that because she is only fifteen.
I adore the social commentary in this book. It resonates a lot with reality done in a fictional way and the author really delves into those topics which I always appreciate and love in writing. We see things from various different points of view and the stumbling blocks people face in trying to do something good. The adventure is really well-written and there is a lot of twists and turns that makes the book very exciting for the reader. I also think the idea for the book was really interesting and well thought out. I also think Zahira was a well-rounded and likeable character. She was interesting and had a lot to think and say and I loved that.
I don’t know if I am reading too much into this but there does seem to be a lot about identity as Zahira seems to be trying to find her identity and her place in the world a lot. I loved reading about her journey and I think it will be very easy for many people going through various different identity searches to relate to. I thought that was cool. I also found it really cool that Zahira was mixed-race because there needs to be more representations of people other than the white, cis, straight, able-bodied man character in books so huge kudos to the author for not going down that route.
All in all I think the plot was really interesting and the writing was superb. A great read which it only took me a day or two to read so that kind of says it all. It’s an engrossing adventure.
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