Sunday 22 February 2015

In Your Sights (Sydney Triptych #1) by Elizabeth Krall

In Your Sights (Sydney Triptych, #1)

'Caroline Bready is being watched. Someone has posted a photograph of her on a mysterious website. Still struggling to rebuild her life after the unsolved death of her husband, Caroline tells herself that the photo is unimportant. She drifts into an affair with a colleague; the relationship begins casually, but quickly becomes intense and disturbing. After Caroline discovers the first victim of a serial rapist who has begun to attack women in Sydney, another photograph appears. Are the online images a threat, or simply coincidence? 
Against a backdrop of deception and lies, Caroline finds herself drawn to an enigmatic stranger. Is he protecting her, or does he mean her harm? If Caroline cannot distinguish 
friend from foe, it could cost her life.
In Your Sights is Book 1 in the Sydney Triptych series of suspense novels.'

A very compelling read that is difficult to put down. There is a creepiness that pervades the entire novel which adds to the intrigue and suspense. It is difficult to pinpoint where the exact threat is coming from because the characters are all so flawed and not very nice at times. The author is certainly not afraid to add shock factor which is evidenced in the depiction of Caroline's romantic involvement with her co-worker. 
I loved that there was a plethora of really nasty characters in the book and I couldn't help but want to yell at Caroline a few times. You can't jump to any early conclusions in this story. Just when you think you have it figured out the author turns the story on its head and you have to reassess your thinking. Any one of the people in Caroline's social sphere could be the stalker and/or the Redback Rapist who has been terrorizing the women of Sydney and its environs for the past four years.
A chilling blend of psychological thriller, romance and mystery.  

Trade Me (Cyclone Book1) by Courtney Milan

Trade Me (Cyclone, #1)

'Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life. 
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations. 
But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.'

A new adult contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Milan.

This is a very different kind of 'sexy billionaire' romance to those that have saturated the market in recent years.
Blake, the male protagonist, is quiet and thoughtful. He has been working in the family business since he was a child by taking part in advertisements and then being involved in developing and marketing products as he got older.  Now, however, he is beginning to feel the pressure of being expected to run the family business before he is ready which leads to all kinds of personal and emotional problems. He wants to escape from his life.

Tina is a clever and sassy but poor student and a Chinese immigrant. Her family has had to overcome many hardships and obstacles to get to America and give Tina a chance in life. Tina is constantly reminded of this by her mother who doesn't want her to forget the old ways.

Tina and Blake meet at a point in time when they are both seduced by the idea of escaping their lives albeit temporarily. They literally trade places. Blake gets a taste of slumming it and Tina is relieved of her financial pressures. 

I loved how this story was written with chapters alternating in the points of view of Tina and Blake. Through this technique the reader can see the motivations and evolvement of the characters in a more detailed way than simply a novel written in the third person and from the female point of view.


A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill. Entangled Publishing 2015

A Stolen Season (Entangled Select Historical)

'One small mistake in the past will change everything about her future... Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st ­century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English Earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah's device. Which means an entirely different approach is needed. It doesn't occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brother's death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl's brother and—most importantly— not fall in love...'

Another time travel romance that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.

The novel begins at breakneck speed with a deadly, moonlit chase through the woods between Sarah and the Earl of Earnston.  The suspense continues right up until the very final few pages. 

Being both charming and romantic, there is also a certain sense of doom pervading through the story.  I couldn't help but have all fingers and toes crossed for Sarah and Eric as I progressed through the novel. I just couldn't tell what was going to happen and I really liked that about the book.

It was difficult to imagine how the author was going to reconcile the protagonists, in light of Sarah's role in the death of the Earl of Earnston. 
However the author manages to resolve things in a satisfying and romantically poignant way. I loved it.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Cinderella's Secret Slipper by Alinka Rutkowska

Cinderella needs her glass slippers repaired because 'Junior' was using them to squash mosquitoes and smashed one of them.

A colourful, entertaining little addition to the Cinderella  story. 

This story would be a perfect five minute read at the end of the day or in the early years classroom. 

There are multiple choice comprehension questions at the end which a teacher may find useful in assessing story recall. A copy of the original Cinderella story at the end of the book is also a welcome added extra.

I would recommend adding this picture book to an early years classroom library.