Book Review—Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4)Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of works by Penny Reid and loved all of them, but I have to say this one took me completely by surprise. It’s hilarious, dramatic and passionately romantic. Ashley is the only sister of the Winston brothers. She has been gone for years and is now back to find an ailing mother and distant brothers. And then there is Drew, the pillar who holds them all together.

Ashley & Drew’s story while unraveling a lot of mysteries surrounding the brothers, reveals a very different aspect of Penny’s writing that I had not read before. The book somewhat split into parts dominated by different emotions. So it begins with humor and tussle, strained sibling relationship, overcast by sorrow, leading to overwhelming passion (thanks to Drew) towards the end.

As someone has said, the quietest people have the loudest minds—holds true for Drew. His poetry floods your senses with passion and emotion that is downright staggering. The outpourings of his heart will leave you speechless. The intensity of his feelings for Ashley is enrapturing. The eloquence of his words make him precious and I think were the best part about the book.

A good book to invest your time in.

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Book Review—Ensnared by Rita Stradling


Ensnared
by Rita Stradling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[I received an ARC from the Author, as part of a LibraryThing giveaway, in exchange for a review.]

I have read a couple of Rita’s earlier works, which I loved so it was natural that my interest was piqued when I saw her latest work and I jumped at the chance of reading her book.

As much as it is a retelling of beauty and the beast (Is it me or are there too many of these coming up recently esp on beauty and the beast?), I liked the futuristic take on the fairy tale as it gives a nice twist to the story.

The initial pages caught my attention and kept me hooked for some time, though certain sections did make me pause and read them over once more as either there was a break in the action or the narrative felt off. There was a reference to Alainn being away and coming back… but from where is not mentioned, until much later.

As I progressed, I was able to match pace with the story, though I felt that there were a lot of ups and down in the action that was happening. There would be a pause in the narrative and a different thread would be picked upon and taken forward. The whole mountain section when Rose steps out of her window needs a once over. There’s something there that disturbs the flow. Same goes for the detailed description of Lorccan’s tower where the flow again breaks a few times and left me confused a bit. The voice leading Alaine around the house or giving her directions, especially phrases like ‘come this way’ were left hanging. Come this way … how.. Is there a 3D projection of a life-size Rose, leading the way or are signs flashing around the walls telling her where to go. This section would require a little more information on how Alainn was being led around the house with the voice asking her to take a left or a right or turn around the corner and walk up the stairs, kind of, which would sound more practical and probable.

The sex scene definitely raised an eyebrow… one minute you have Lorccan writhing in pain on the floor, screaming cause he is living a nightmare and in a wink he is awake and his hand is up her dress and he wants to roll around with her or in her. I mean—what the heck!

As I said earlier, there are a few highs and lows in the story. The high point for me was the rescue scene and the fight scene— this is an intense action scene and the excitement rubs off on you. Post the rescue, the story slightly dips into the daily routine of the characters and I began to wonder where it was going.

The dramatic closing caught me by surprise as it sort of concluded the story, which I had begun to think, should have ended a few pages back. A lot of things get explained here and most of the questions that rose earlier are answered. The end was nice, sweet and sterile.

Good work with a potential for becoming great. I would highly recommend the author for one more round of editing.

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Book Review—Loonies by Gregory Bastianelli

LooniesLoonies by Gregory Bastianelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had this book on my to-read list for a very long time. I’m just glad that I finally did pick it up and read through.

Smokey Hollow is a forgotten town, with its own mysteries and secrets, big and small. The discovery of a locked steamer trunk in the attic of the Brian Keays, editor of the town’s only paper, sets off a series  of undesirable events that shake the town to its very core. While Brian is bent on solving the mystery, he gradually discovers that not everyone or everything is in his favor.

Just as a new clue is uncovered, someone drops dead. Everything it not what its seems. People would rather sweep it under the rug that find out the truth. Yet, there is more to it and as you read further new secrets are unraveled and one thinks—what now? What’s next?

Despite the captivating opening, the book was slow in the beginning and it was only after a couple of pages that the story began to pick up the pace and I started to get a hang of what was going on. But once I was through the initial few pages, I did not want to put it down.

There is a lot of action happening here for a quaint little town like Smokey Hollow and Gregory does an amazing job of taking the mystery of the locked trunk to a whole new level with several twists and turns thrown in at every turn of the page.

Even as an unlikely hero, Brian, our key protagonist, is real, as are his flaws and doubts and addictions. He has got more on his plate than he can handle. So much is going on in his personal as well as professional life, but he does not give up. And you kind of respect him for that. Despite his faults, you will find yourself still cheering for him and hoping that he does not end up dead.

This book may seem a little light for some in terms of the story, but I still felt that it was brilliant. I really liked the gentle way Gregory weaves the mystery, revealing one clue after another while at the same time keeping things real. The clumsy way Brian is able to put it all together, and eventually solve the mystery and help catch the killer, brings the story to a neat closure.

All in all an exciting story. Looking forward to reading more of Gregory’s work.

I got this book as part of  JournalStone’s book review program in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

ArrangedArranged by Catherine McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Arranged” is a lovely, light-hearted romantic drama. The protagonist Ann Blythe has been in several disappointing relationships that have left her disheartened and sad. In search of a meaningful relationship, she takes a chance and approaches what she thinks to be a dating company only to find it’s anything but. Soon Anne finds herself on a journey, an adventure of a lifetime. Would she find the happiness she is looking for? Is it possible to find love ‘arranged’ by someone else?

I found Catherine’s writing style very refreshing and comforting. She weaves a most endearing romantic drama that is fun to read and thoroughly enjoyable. I know not everyone is comfortable with the concept of arranged marriages, but having grown in a culture where it is well-practiced, I liked the respect Catherine gives to it and how gently she handles the subject. The story is interesting and flows effortlessly. The characters are well crafted and seem familiar.

Do give it a shot; it definitely is worth the time and money.

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