By Bamber Gascoigne
Out of Print (seemingly)
This one was another rec from julesjones. Over there I described the story as 'a bunch of unlikeable people turn out to be unreliable narrators'. An unsuccessful novelist tries to piece together his grandmother's life in the year leading up to her marriage from her journals and old photographs. The picture that emerges brings a host of revelations about his family and others in their lives. I enjoyed the book, but the aforementioned unlikeable characters and unreliable narration meant it was by no means a light read. Thought-provoking.
Romeo for Hire
By Jane Beckenham
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
ISBN 13: 9787770975202 ISBN 10: 7770975204
Workaholic Carly Mason is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock: an invitation for four days of sun and sand with her friends and their men. The hard place: “Mr. Invisible”, who lusts after her with delicious abandon, doesn’t exist—Carly invented him to keep her friends off her back about her lack of a love life.
Then she encounters a motorbike-riding Adonis whose image taunts her during the wee small hours. When fate drops him in her sights the next day, she grabs the opportunity to offer him a job. Pretend to be her Romeo, just for the duration of her getaway.
Exhausted from months negotiating his multi-million-dollar company’s expansion, Marco Valente is more than tempted by Carly’s outrageous proposal. If nothing else, it’ll give him a temporary escape from his high-profile life—and his mother’s serial-bride attitude.
Once on the island, Carly realizes her well-meaning friends have tricked her into a “relaxing” vacation. For the next four days and nights, it’s just her and her hired Romeo. And a growing connection that definitely wasn’t part of the contract…
Another one that I have mixed feelings about. The excerpt I read gave the impression that there might be a suspense subplot, which turned out not to be the case. On the other hand I wasn't expecting the book to be set in New Zealand either, and that was a very welcome surprise.
I'm a bit of a sucker for the set-up where two people have to pretend to be a couple, and then realise that maybe the pretense could become a reality, although this one did drag out the number of plot-points that could have been solved by the characters talking to each other.
The main characters are both high achievers, although this time I didn't get my wish for a story where the heroine is more successful than the hero. On the other hand a major spoilery plot point revolves around an act of recklessness that didn't have to happen and neither of these highly successful and capable characters seems to have thought of the other potential consequences of their action.
Overall, I'm glad I bought this one, and most of my niggles with it are specific to me, and will probably be exactly what other readers love about it. I'd have been happier without the epilogue too. I'm tempted to get others by the same author if they also have the NZ flavour to them, but I'll go in knowing what to expect from the plot.
A Certain Pressure in the Pipes
By: Clancy Nacht
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Conrad Lloyd's father, Governor of an old west town, wishes his son wasn't so interested in inventing, or men, for that matter. It isn't until Conrad meets Ezhno, a Native American inventor, that Conrad thinks he can find sexual and intellectual fulfillment all in one man. Will they find their way together despite the societal and familial divide that threatens to keep them apart? Or will Conrad have to satisfy himself with his steam-powered Pleasuring Machine?
This was a fun, fairly quick read. I would have liked more details of the inventions and how they were put together, but other than that it was a welcome addition to my far-too-small steampunk romance collection.
Also it's worth following the link for the book trailer alone.
Inspector Singh Investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy
By Shamini Flint
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Published: 01 April 2010
Format: Paperback 320 pages
ISBN 13: 9780749929770 ISBN 10: 0749929774
Inspector Singh is home - and how he wishes he wasn't. His wife nags him at breakfast and his superiors are whiling away their time by giving him his usual 'you're a disgrace to the force' lecture. Fortunately for Singh, there is no rest for the wicked when he is called out to the murder of a senior partner at an international law firm, clubbed to death at his desk. Unfortunately for Singh, there is no shortage of suspects - from the victim's fellow partners to his wife and ex-wife - or motives, as many of the lawyers have secrets they would kill to protect. And very soon Singh finds himself heading up an investigation that rips apart the fabric of Singapore society and exposes the rotten core beneath. Perhaps coming home wasn't such a good idea, after all...?
This is the third Inspector Singh story (with another on the way next year) and my favourite so far. We get to see his home life: his wife is actually quite a sympathetic character for all the animosity between the pair of them, and we also meet various other members of her family.
One piece of characterisation I really liked was that while Singh is his usual misanthropic self, he doesn't have any of the specific prejudices exhibited by his colleagues. In fact he's actually sympathetic to those that others are disparaging about. Not that he'd ever let on, of course.