If I Never Met You – Mhairi McFarlane

Welcome back everyone, I’ve got another NetGalley review for you and I hope you’ll like the sound of it.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get through writing this review without spoiling it for you. Because OMG!

I can’t believe how involved I got with this story. I mean. The girl that’s so much like me it’s not funny, and the guy who sounds like he’s trying to be something he’s not. I love the trope of the opposites attracting yet I’m not sure how that’s going to play out in this situation.

The first thing I want to say is that Laurie is a half-white, half-black. Which to me means nothing because I honestly don’t care what your skin colour is. I only care what you’re like as a person. Yet the comments she makes throughout the book (including explaining why she asked if Jamie’s parents knew she was black) tell me so much about the indecency of others.

I always thought the media was playing up how racist people were about Meghan Markle since marrying Prince Harry. Yet reading this book gave me the feeling that it might be worse than what the media has made out. I mean. How crazy is that?! Who cares if someone is a woman, man, gay, straight, white, black or any other “variation”?!

The grace Laurie displayed throughout the book in the face of blatant sexism, chauvinistic ass holes and racism is amazing. Personally, I would’ve punched someone in the face, gotten my revenge etc well and truly before Laurie (who by the way is 36). The fact that the workplace allows that kind of behaviour is astounding and makes me wonder why any woman would want to work there.

Yet the office man whore seems to be the only man in the office who doesn’t feel that way about Laurie (other than her gay mate). The transition they go through is amazing. The confidence and growth they gain is amazing. I loved it the whole way through.

Right up until the end. That ending just killed it for me. How is that going to work?! How is that a happy ending?! I can’t see it as anything other than a disaster we haven’t read yet. Just tweak it a little bit and it’d be perfect! But nope. I don’t like that last little bit. If, or when, you’ve read it, I’m sure you know what I mean.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Devoted to Destiny by Lisa Kessler.

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Miao-Shan: The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei’s need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn’s Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt “bad people” means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.


My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don’t have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei’s excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath’s personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she’s unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It’s at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author info

Gary Morris

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

          

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A Greek Affair – Linn B. Halton

Welcome back everyone, after reading about Satan and the history of man I thought we could do with a change. So today’s review is going back to a romance novel.

Story Overview

Like with many a good romance novel we start some years in the past to set the scene of what our main character is going through. In this case Leah has just come home with her two year old baby to discover that her husband, her daughters father, has abandoned them and left them with a ridiculous amount of debt. 

Fast forward 7 years and she’s finally managed to pay off all the debts, avoided the cottage being foreclosed on and feels like her life is finally on the up and up. In this case we come back to her right as she’s about to win an award for the best travel blog!

Because of this win she gets more offers to stay at hotels for free to review them on her blog. Personally, I think this is pretty cool, but at the same time so many people are doing this it’d be pretty hard to make a living off of blogging alone. 

Not only did it surprise me that she can earn enough money from her blog to get by, I was also massively surprised that she gets over 1 thousand individual hits a day! I’m lucky if I can crack double digits when a new review goes up! That’s not to say I’m not grateful for all those who have followed me and so might be reading my reviews from their emails. I just have no idea how many of them are reading them.

Anyway! I digress! One of the offers Leah gets is to go to Athens for a few days. That in and of itself would be amazing for me. Some of the sites she visits are on my bucket list and the way Linn wrote about the places and described them made me feel like I was there.

When I see photo’s online I always think that they are photo-shopped or enhanced, but the way Linn described it really stuck into my imagination. Which meant I now have even more possible locations I didn’t know about on my list of places in Athens to visit!

While Leah is in Athens, she meets Daniel who is renting one of the villa’s she’s been asked to review and somehow, she ends up connecting with him both emotionally and physically. 

After a second trip to Athens to see Daniel and get some more photo’s the drama really begins. And this time it involves Antonio(the ex-husband) and Daniel. I spent probably a good quarter of the book trying to figure out what could be happening, who Leah was going to end up with and what would happen to Rosie (the daughter).

My Thoughts

Needless to say, I found a number of surprises along the way, but I really enjoyed them.So much so that this morning when I was meant to start work, I decided to spend another 10 minutes reading while I ate my breakfast just, so I could finish the chapter where Leah and Antonio talk for the first time in over 7 years! I was hooked, and I needed to know what went down with that phone call. 

The thing that irked me a little was that at the end of the last chapter it says “TheEnd” yet I knew from looking at the contents that there was an epilogue. It made me feel cheated a little, coz if I hadn’t have looked at the contents, I wouldn’t have known there was a little bit more. And that little bit more wraps it up beautifully! Why would you trick your readers into thinking there’s nothing else when you want them to finish the story? So when you read this one,make sure you read the epilogue after it says “The End”!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing Miao Shan: The Awakening by a new author Gary Morris.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author, see who else is reviewing this book and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

          

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