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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-19 19:00
Book Review: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton
Robby Riverton: Mail Order BrideRobby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew being on the run from cut throat killers out to get him would be so much fun?

Rising star of the New York stage, Robby Riverton is poised for his big break. Except he has hideously bad luck. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessed a notorious New York crime boss commit a murder. And they got a good look at his face. So now his career is over and he's on the run. It's 1860, so what's a man to do? Go West young man.

Hopping the first wagon train to Santa Fe, the mob boss's men tracking his every move, Robby puts his acting skills to the ultimate test - Robby Riverton, actor, becomes Rowena Fairchild, mail-order bride! But Robby's bad luck holds out and the bad guys catch up to him in Santa Fe - except 'Rowena' is accosted by the killers on the street right in front of Trace Crabtree - Sherriff of Flat Bottom and older brother to Rowena's intended, Clovis Crabtree. So much for slipping away into the night! Now Robby must act the role of his life, convincing the Crabtree's he's Rowena while falling hard for Trace. Trace, who figured out Rowena was Robby, is determined to protect the actor, his family and make sure he doesn't give in to Robby's charms all while waiting for the US Marshall's to come and take Robby's statement.

Things don't go according to Trace's plans... or Robby's, but maybe they'll find out exactly where they're meant to be and who they're meant to be with along the way.

I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, sweet, spicy, and kept my interest. Definitely impressed by this book.

View all my reviews

 

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review 2018-07-08 19:36
Exit West
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid

“We are all migrants through time.” 

Having just finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist before reading Exit West (both are due back at the library), I had high expectations for this book.

 

Sadly, I didn't get as much out of this one as I hoped I would. I mean the premise is fascinating, a young couple from an unnamed country that is collapsing in a state of civil war is trying to escape and make for a new life in the West. It's the story of so many over the recent years. It's a story that has so much to offer in the way exploring that human condition when faced with survival, faith, interaction with others, etc. 

 

And yet, I think the book lost it's way a few times during the short story, as if it wasn't sure what it wanted to purvey, what its point was. Many of the issues that Hamid mentioned would have been worthy of exploring further, but he didn't. Maybe it is the brevity of the book that I need to blame, but Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist was equally short and was still more successful in raising and discussing several issues in more depth than Exit West

 

Or maybe it was the style of this book, the detachment of the narration, that didn't work for me. I'm sure the detachment could have worked to create that obvious divide between the characters and the reader, as if to say "you can witness, but you will never fully understand", but then I guess the book would have failed me because I needed the book to draw me in as the reader and become part of the story to understand the mindset and emotional state of the characters.

 

Whatever it was, it just didn't work that well for me.

No matter. It was still a worthwhile read.

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review 2018-07-04 11:20
The Return of the Soldier (Virago Modern Classics) - Rebecca West

Kitty and Jenny sit at home, awaiting the end of the war and the return of Chris, Kitty’s husband and Jenny’s cousin. However he returns to them sooner, suffering amnesia from shell-shock. He can remember Jenny and Margaret, his first love, but has no recollection of Kitty. Between the women they have to decide if they should allow Chris to remain 15 years in the past or to find a cure. That cure will be an act of love.

 

It is little wonder that Chris resorts to only remembering his past. It is a coping mechanism, his brain’s way of allowing him to heal, by remembering the happiest time of his life. It is telling perhaps that his mind does not remember the early courtship with his wife, though she is inextricably linked to the loss of his son.

 

The house and it’s grounds are idealised. It is the house of old that Chris longs to return to, a place for him to be comfortable and to heal. Jenny marvels at its beauty in the present day, at the wonderful grounds and the many changes wrought by Kitty. With Chris’ situation her eyes are opened to the fact that these changes may not be as welcome to him as once believed.

 

The house and it’s setting are also used to juxtapose the battlefields. Rebecca West doesn’t attempt to portray the horror of war. It is mentioned briefly by Jenny, referring to the film reels seen and the dreams they cause. However the reader is left to imagine the scenes, stark in their absence, when compared with the idyllic life Chris has left behind. To Jenny it is a haven, a cocoon to keep them safe. The house is in a perpetual golden glow if her descriptions are to believed but it becomes more apparent that it may be something of a gilded cage.

 

Kitty isn’t a particularly likeable character. She seemed less concerned with Chris’ mental health than how it affected her. She thinks that by draping herself in the jewels he bought her, he will suddenly remember her. Her avoidance of him seems more caused by petulance than anxiety. She is discourteous to Margaret, though this seems less to do with jealousy and more to do with snobbery. Jenny is a more complex character. She views Margaret initially with disdain, a disdain towards her poverty and obvious signs of beauty than anything else. She is quick to assume that Margaret is unhappy with her life in her pokey little house, that her lack of style and money has leached her of beauty. She misses the signs of fidelity that are briefly brought before her when Margaret and her husband interact. She fails, initially, to see the beauty behind the shabby clothes. But she gets to know Margaret, learns the history of her and Chris and soon comes to rely on her. Margaret is ultimately selfless. She does attend on Chris in part to remember happier days, to relive her youth and in some respects to obtain closure or to confirm her life choices. She is also there for Chris, to help him heal. Chris is the tie that binds them together and though he is the focal point for the women, it is those women that are very much the focal point of the novel.

 

This is a slim volume, but nonetheless is an effecting story, despite it’s size. It is a quiet, beautifully told story of love and war. Recommended.

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review 2018-06-29 07:47
The Royal Scepter: A Royal Baby Romance by Cherise West
The Royal Scepter: A Royal Baby Romance - Cherise West

 

 

With seduction on his mind, Estefan sets out to get his princess. Erica dreams of a better life. She wants to be treasured. What she gets is a cheating boyfriend and a case of mistaken identity. West has dreamt up a scandalous tale of secret liaisons and vindictive enemies that step outside of the traditional happily ever after. The Royal Scepter is a dirty twist on the classic fairytale tale. A wicked piece of deliciousness.

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review 2018-06-29 03:13
Review: West
West - Carys Davies

West begins with a wonderful premise, a good cast of characters, and some lovely language. Then it ends. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. Part of me thinks, I could've stayed with these characters for a full 300 pages. I would've endured the journey wherever it took me. Surely this story could've gone on longer. Then again, I'm not sure. There's such a thing as a story stretched too thin, and I think Westcould've been a victim of this had it been much longer. Perhaps it is too long as it is. Maybe West isn't too short for a novel, but too long for a short story. The final fourth of this novella does wane a bit. I'm not sure what side of the fence I fall on, but something feels off about it and I think it has to do with length.

Overall, West is a wonderfully quick and entertaining read. The premise really sells this book. In the early 1800s, a father goes on a quest to find monstrous beasts whose bones have recently been unearthed. He leaves his daughter behind to begin her own quest into womanhood. It's a wonderful idea and I think Carys Davies pulls it off exceptionally well. I'm curious to see what else Davies can do, long or short.

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