Wild Life by Alison Brodie

Wild Life by Alison BrodieYou don’t read an Alison Brodie novel expecting a run-of-the-mill, predictable story. McPherson wants to build houses, as he believes every child should have somewhere decent to live, but to do this he will have to cut down ‘Old Bob’, a tree that Faustine associates with memories of her late mother.

They both have equally valid reasons for what they are doing; the reader can see both sides of the argument, and we start to wonder how the situation can be resolved without one of them losing out. Their attempts to outdo each other at the beginning of the book are hilarious.

However, they put their differences to one side when it becomes obvious that Oscar is urgently in need of help to prevent him going off the rails. Despite putting up a very street-wise front, and having seen things no child should have had to, underneath he is very vulnerable.

So much more than just a romantic comedy, Wild Life deals with some very serious issues but in a sympathetic way. Using humour is very powerful and enables Alison to get the points across without preaching.

All three main characters are emotionally damaged, complex and flawed individuals who evolve as the story progresses. At times, the twists and turns of the plot push the bounds of credibility, but somehow it all comes together in a satisfying finale.  I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading her next one.

Thanks to Alison for a copy of Wild Life and this is my unbiased review.

About Face by DE Haggerty

About FaceHaving previously read and enjoyed DE Haggerty’s Not So Reluctant Detective series, I was pleased to be able to read and review About Face. After a serious car crash, Frankie is recuperating in the suburbs at her grandparents’ house. She is now facing months of physiotherapy to enable her to walk again on her injured leg.

As a distraction, her grandma tries to set her up with her friends’ grandsons, much to Frankie’s dismay (and our amusement). Brodie is her physio and when she asks him to pretend to be her date, to stop Grandma inviting any more weirdos to dinner, he surprises her by asking her out for real.

Frankie is on a steep learning curve, gradually coming to terms with how shallow her life and her friends were before her accident. It turns out they were not true friends after all. With the support of her grandma, her assistant, Jackson, and her new friends Shelby and Brodie, will she be able to move on?

The story is narrated in the first person so we only get Frankie’s view of what’s happening. I would have quite liked a bit of insight into what some of the other characters were thinking.

My only slight criticism is that I would have expected the writer to fill in some of the backstory about the car accident. Frankie seems a bit fixated on her facial scar and takes a lot of convincing that it’s not the first thing people notice about her, but I suppose that’s only to be expected. I also thought that Francis was the male version of her name, but maybe that’s only in the UK?

There is a lot of humour, and a cinematic quality to the story – I think it would make a great rom-com. I also hope we hear more about Shelby in another book.

Thanks to the author for a copy that I review on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT #AboutFace #DEHaggerty

and a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills

and a Sixpence for LuckLife is not going well for Daisy Jones and Christmas is fast approaching when her great-grandmother, Gee-Gee, gives her an old-fashioned sixpence to put in the Christmas pudding ‘for luck’.

Without giving anything away, what follows is a hilarious series of misunderstandings and sheer bad luck. To look on the bright side it does take her to A&E where she meets dishy Dr Hartley who, although qualified as a doctor, is pretty bad at reading people considering the conclusions he jumps to about Daisy.

The story is well written, will make you laugh out loud, has a great cast of characters, particularly her mum, gran and Gee-Gee and a happy ending (sorry) – what more could you want!  

Thanks to Lilac Mills for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Adam & Evil by Charlie Vincent

Adam EvilRight from the start this is a very unusual story. Adam has been alive forever, or so it seems to him. The novel opens with a scene from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 where Adam should have drowned; but he is not like other men and would probably have suffered for an eternity had he not been rescued by Kane. They have met before – several times over the centuries – and both of them have the scars to show the many adventures they have lived through.

As the story opens Adam is living very comfortably in Monaco. A young woman has disappeared in suspicious circumstances and the police have not found her yet; Adam feels compelled to use his unique skills to rescue her. He slowly pieces together an absolutely horrific story of women being captured for the sex trade, on a huge scale, by an organisation with far-reaching influence.

Adam & Evil is well written with a cast of convincing characters, such as Joe, Sabine and Charles Mason; the villains are particularly nasty, almost caricatures, so that the reader is in no doubt what Adam is up against.  The historical detail comes across as well researched and authentic, and adds an extra dimension to the story. I could not put it down; it’s a fast-paced thriller with a touch of humour, here and there, to lighten what would otherwise be a very dark tale.

I really enjoyed Adam & Evil and look forward to reading the next instalment of Adam and Kane’s adventures in The Fire God. Thanks to Charlie Vincent for a free copy to review as one of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Brake Failure by Alison Brodie

Brake FailureAn exciting plot, authentic sense of place and well-drawn characters that jump off the page; combine this with laugh-out-loud humour and Brake Failure is a book you just can’t put down!

Expecting to live in Paris after her marriage to Edward, Ruby is gutted to find herself in Kansas. To begin with she is the perfect English lady and her new friends love her accent and assume she knows all about the Queen and Princess Diana – when they ask for details she makes it up as she goes along, with hilarious results.

There are some laugh-out-loud moments, such as the evening spent entertaining Edward’s client when she acquires all the dogs, and the argument with ‘Mr Frosty’; there are also serious issues underneath the humour, particularly Ruby’s emotionally abusive childhood.

We are given Ruby’s backstory gradually throughout the book; in fact, Alison keeps us guessing to the very end. The device of working backwards from the bank robbery is very effective; we get chapters written from the perspective of the Police Chief in Kansas City after the bank robbery, alternating with Ruby’s story starting sixteen weeks earlier, until both strands meet and all the different pieces fit together.

It is wonderful to watch Ruby emerge from the constraints of her upbringing; she goes too far at first (hence the title) but eventually finds the right balance. At the beginning of the book Ruby is a prim and proper, uptight hypochondriac scared of her own shadow (and the Millennium Bug); by the end she has dyed her hair blonde, taken up with some ‘interesting’ new friends, broken several laws and found the love of her life. Thanks to Alison for the free copy of this book.

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