Blog Tour Review: How (Not) to Marry a Duke

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Title: How (Not) to Marry a Duke
Author: Felicia Kingsley
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Aria
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A hilarious romantic comedy perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jo Watson and Meg Cabot.

One minute, Jemma Pears is a struggling theatrical make-up artist in London. The next, she’s been left a vast fortune by her estranged grandmother. The catch: she must marry a man with a title to inherit.
Jemma thinks this is truly impossible: she’s a romantic, searching for true love, not just a convenient marriage… and besides, where would she even find a titled guy?

Enter Ashford, the new Duke of Burlingham. His legacy: massive debts that he must pay back immediately or risk the bank seizing his assets. Or worse: his mother’s wrath!

When their lawyer hears of their situations, a secret match is made despite their mutual hatred of each other: through marrying Ashford, Jemma can inherit and Ashford can pay back his debts immediately. Problem solved. That is, until their marriage is leaked to the press and everyone finds out…

Now they have to play out the charade for at least a year or risk going to jail for fraud!

A hilarious pretense ensues and Jemma must battle against a crazy mother in law, a stuffy aristocracy, and finally, and most surprisingly of all, confusing feelings for Ashford…!

Review:

I absolutely loved this book! It was cute and funny!

The ending was kind of predictable because of the storyline. Jemma needs to marry a man with a title to receive her inheritance from her grandmother and Ashford is a Duke who requires a lot of money for him to save his properties. By coincidence, they have the same lawyer who sets them up to solve both of their problems! Of course, at first they hate each other because Jemma is not part of the aristocracy that Ashford usually associates with. But after living together for a while, things change.

There were a number of times that I laughed out loud. Ashford’s mother reminded me of Jane Fonda’s character in the movie Monster-In-Law. Jemma could not please her no matter what she did. They were completely different, so many of the scenes reminded me of that movie.

Though I could see where the story was heading, I loved the ending. I really enjoyed the whole story, and I fell in love with the characters. This is a great romantic comedy!

What to read next:

  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
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  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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About the Author:

Felicia Kingsley was born in 1987. She lives in a small town near Modena and works as an architect. Her debut novel How (Not) to Marry a Duke was the second most read e-book in Italy in 2017.

 

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Thank you to Aria for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: With You Always

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Title: With You Always
Author: Rena Olsen
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of The Girl Before comes a tense and incisive work of psychological suspense that examines how easy it is to fall into the wrong relationship…and how impossible it can be to leave.

In the wake of a painful breakup and struggling to prove herself at work, Julia feels adrift. When Bryce blows into her life, he seems like the perfect anchor. Handsome, charming, secure, and confident, Bryce brings out the best in Julia, sweeping her off her feet with attention and affection while grounding her with his certainty and faith. Together they embark on a path guided by the principles of his family and their church, each step a paving stone leading to happily ever after.

But this is no fairy tale.

Step by step, one small concession leading to another, Julia is slowly isolated from her job, her friends, and her family, until she comes to find that her dream come true is a cage. Then one day everything changes…and Julia is faced with no choice but to find a way out.

Review:

This book disappointed me a little, because it is marketed as a psychological thriller but it takes a long time for the thriller to begin.The thrilling parts of it only began in the last third of the book.

The thriller aspects of the story only began in the last third of the book. The beginning of the book laid the groundwork for the rest of it, but it took too long for the exciting part to start.

It is clear pretty early on that Bryce is controlling. He was very creepy, and I don’t know why Julia couldn’t see it. He was way too perfect. Since he was obviously creepy, the long story of their relationship leading up to the climax could have been shorter than the 200 pages it took up.

This book wasn’t for me, because I like fast paced thrillers. If you like a book that has a slower pace, this is for you.

What to read next:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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  • The Girl Before by Rena Olsen

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Have you read With You Always? What did you think of it?

 

Review: Believe Me

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Title: Believe Me
Author: J.P. Delaney
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

Review:

This was a great thriller. It had tons of twists!

Claire was an unreliable character. I couldn’t trust what she did or said because sometimes she would lie and I couldn’t tell what was true. It made for a good story since I didn’t know what was happening, but it was frustrating at the same time because I couldn’t trust her.

Halfway through the book, I was sure that I had figured out who killed Stella. But there was a twist in part 3, which completely through me off. I was also wrong with my theory.

The last part of the story was different from the first two. There was less of the mystery because everyone was more settled in their lives. The mystery was resolved at the very end, but it felt rushed to me. I was surprised at how it ended.

This book is great if you love twisty thrillers!

What to read next:

  • A Noise Downstairs

  • Gone Girl

Have you read Believe Me? What did you think of it?

Review: A Noise Downstairs

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Title: A Noise Downstairs
Author: Linwood Barclay
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of No Time for Goodbyereturns with a haunting psychological thriller that blends the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn with the driving suspense of Harlan Coben, in which a man is troubled by odd sounds for which there is no rational explanation.

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . . .

Review:

I loved this thriller! I couldn’t put it down.

This story was super creepy. I couldn’t tell if Paul was going crazy or if things were actually happening to him. It was hard to tell. At first, I couldn’t tell why the narrative switched between Paul and other characters, mostly Anna White. It’s clear why at the end, so there was a good reason.

I kept thinking about how this story would have been so different if it had a woman as the main character. Many thrillers with female main characters imply that the woman is going crazy, and it’s much more frustrating. Usually she ends up having a drug or alcohol problem as well, such as in The Woman in the Window. I liked this story with a male main character much better. I feel like the other people in his life weren’t as hard on him, as they are when there is a woman who seems to be going crazy.

I loved the twists at the end. It all made sense, but it was pretty complicated. I really enjoyed this story.

What to read next:

  • The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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  • Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley

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Have you read A Noise Downstairs? What did you think of it?

Review: Baby Teeth

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Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

Review:

This book was such a wild ride!

Hanna was so disturbing. I was actually scared when I read about the creepy things she would do. She tortured her mother in ways that weren’t always obvious. It’s hard to believe that a child could think up these ways to harm their parents. I can’t imagine going through something like that.

I had no idea how this book was going to end. It wasn’t a clear cut story where you know in general what will happen (for example in romances where the couple either gets together or not, or a mystery where the detective will find the killer). I didn’t know if everyone was going to die or live or some other unknown solution! I’ll admit I was surprised at the ending.

One strange thing about this book is that it has two different names. It is called Baby Teeth in North America, but it is called Bad Apple in the UK. I didn’t really understand why it is called Baby Teeth, but I can understand the Bad Apple reference, since Hanna really is a bad apple. If anyone knows the reasoning behind the different names I’d love to know!

I would love to see this story continued in a sequel! I highly recommend this book for a creepy thrilling read.

What to read next:

  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
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  • The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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Have you read Baby Teeth? What did you think of it?

 

Blog Tour Extract: The Distance

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Title: The Distance
Author: Zoe Folbigg
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Aria
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis:

Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?

Zoë Folbigg’s latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

Extract:

One

March 2018, Tromsø, Norway

So, ro, lilleman, nå er dagen over… Sleep tight, little one, now the day is overCecilie can’t stop the blasted lullaby from spinning around her head, twinkling like a hanging mobile doing revolutions above a sleeping baby. Alle mus i alle land, ligger nå og sover… The song is rotating calmly and methodically in Cecilie’s brain, distracting her from the couple sitting in front of her as they wait for her to take their order. It is also distancing her from The Thing That’s Happening Today that she’s been dreading for weeks, hoping someone will put a stop to it or change their mind.

The lullaby must have been swirling in Cecilie’s head since she sang it in a quiet corner of the library this morning; to mothers with grey crescent moons clinging to their lower lashlines; to fathers, over the moon to be enjoying their parental leave in a much more relaxed way than they think their partners did. Mothers and fathers and gurglers, all joined in with Cecilie to sing nursery rhymes in the basement of the library, but now those songs and the sweet and happy voices are taunting her.

So, ro, lilleman…

Cecilie thinks of the large print above the fireplace in the living room at home. The room is an elegant haven of greys, browns and whites, dominated by a long, wooden dining table that stands out against the modern touches of the alternate grey and sable plastic Vitra chairs around it. It’s a table where everyone is welcome for heart-to-hearts and hygge at Christmas, although most of the time Cecilie eats breakfast there alone. She likes the grey chairs best and always chooses to sit on one of those while she eats her soda bread smeared with honey and stares out of the window, to the vast and sparse garden beyond. On the white wall above the fireplace hangs a print of a static Alexander Calder mobile that her mother Karin picked up on a trip to London.

‘Isn’t it wonderful, Cecilie?’ she exclaimed, her blue eyes lighting up against the silver of her bobbed hair, as Cecilie’s brother and his boyfriend lifted the black matt frame onto the mantelpiece with a heave.

‘Wonderful,’ concurred Morten, the partner of Cecilie’s twin brother Espen, as he pushed his glasses up his little snub nose. ‘The beauty and intelligence is astounding,’ he added. ‘I just wish I could see it in motion.’

Karin nodded with vigour; Espen had already left the room.

Cecilie looked at the print dreamily, her pale green eyes gazing up at the black Vertical Fern, while it didn’t oscillate as it had in the gallery, or might have done in a breeze. Still, Cecilie imagined herself, fluttering up to the largest of its black fronds to see what it would look like to gaze down at her mother and Morten’s faces from above. Cecilie had a knack for drifting out of position on a whim or a daydream, and seeing the world from above.

Karin, a pragmatist and a politician, found it hard to understand her otherworldly daughter.

‘Cecilie?’ Karin had urged.

Cecilie crinkled her nose and snapped back into the room with a blink.

‘It’s wonderful, Mamma,’ she agreed, although she couldn’t fathom why her mother had bought an inanimate print of something that ought to be in gentle movement. It seemed so unlike her. Karin Wiig was the least static person Cecilie knew.

‘Well yes,’ confirmed Karin with authority. ‘They were just so stunning, you really ought to go to London and see them in motion before the exhibition ends,’ she said with a wave of her hand, although everyone knew she was really only talking to Morten. Even if Espen had still been in the room to hear, he was too wrapped up in his life at the i-Scand hotel on the harbour to bother with the inconvenience of a weekend break, and Cecilie had never travelled to a latitude below Oslo, which was something a diplomat and an adventurer like Karin couldn’t understand.

‘Why is your sister so happy to stay in one place?’ she once asked Espen in despair.

‘Perhaps Cecilie’s daydreams take her to better places than a flight ever could, Mamma,’ Espen had replied.

So, ro, lilleman…

The flash of the frond in her mind awakens Cecilie and she wriggles her inert feet inside her black Dr Martens boots. The lullaby evaporates and disappears, and Cecilie is back with the couple sitting in front of her, at their usual table.

‘Pickle, are you all right?’ asks Gjertrud, her kindly weathered face looking up at Cecilie. ‘It’s just Ole asked you three times for the spiced Arctic cloudberry cake, but you seem a little… in the clouds yourself today, my dear.’

‘Oh, I’m so sorry, so much to think about…’ Cecilie replies, as she writes cloudberry onto a pad in a wisp of ink.

About the Author:

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Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with “Train Man” – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. She is the bestselling author of The Note.

Follow Zoe
Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com/
Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

Buy the book:

Amazon: mybook.to/TheDistance
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2H1MHxn
iBooks: https://apple.co/2EMMLv3
Google play: http://bit.ly/2l7RakV

 

Follow Aria:
Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Review: The Showrunner

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Title: The Showrunner
Author: Kim Moritsugu
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rising-star showrunner Stacey McCreedy has one goal: to leave behind her nerd-girl origins and become a power player — like Ann Dalloni, her former mentor and current producing partner. Ann, meanwhile, is feeling her age and losing her mind. But she’ll be damned if she cedes control of their hit primetime TV show to Stacey.

After Ann hires Jenna, a young actress hoping to restart her stalled career, as an assistant, the relationship between Ann and Stacey deteriorates into a blood feud. Soon, Jenna must choose whom to support and whom to betray to achieve her own ends. And Stacey will find out if she possesses the killer instinct needed to stay on top.

Review:

This story was entertaining and unpredictable!

I enjoy stories that are about television or movie production. It’s an industry that I don’t know much about, in terms of the behind the scenes work, but I watch TV and movies. It’s interesting to see how movies and shows are created, as well as the drama behind the camera.

I liked the dynamic of the three main characters. Ann is the matriarch, who is close to retiring age, though she won’t give up the reins of the show. Stacey is her business partner, who is constantly put down by Ann. Jenna is a young actress who is trying her hand behind the scenes. This gave three different perspectives of the industry from three different generations and positions of power.

There was an interesting scene of inappropriate behaviour in the work place between a man and a woman. It was initiated by the woman, and made the man uncomfortable. This wasn’t taken as seriously, because she was a woman who was abusing her position of power, rather than a man. It’s interesting to see how these gender dynamics can play out, even though they aren’t right. Women can be abusers just like men.

The ending was so shocking! I never would have predicted what would happen when I started reading this book. It was very dramatic!

I really enjoyed this story! Have you read it? What did you think?