by Christina Crooks
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
Talented, down-on-her-luck puppeteer Ginnie Anderson’s life seems destined to fall down around her ears. Much like the rented bungalow that’s just collapsed in a heavy rainstorm, endangering her precious collection of marionettes.
Her livelihood in need of protection and repair, she can’t refuse her landlord’s offer of temporary shelter in his magnificent home. Under his roof, though, she finds her hard-won grasp on her independence slipping—and herself falling into his arms.
The hallmark of Harry Barrett’s business success: he never makes the same mistake twice, particularly when it comes to manipulative women. So why is Ginnie, who pulls strings for a living, like a siren’s song in his blood? It’s best to put temptation as far out of reach as possible.
Yet when Ginnie’s past threatens to destroy the life she’s built for herself, Harry must decide which is more important. Holding tight to his sense of self preservation, or letting go to capture Ginnie’s fragile heart—before it breaks into a thousand pieces.
A reread, because I liked this one so much as an eBook that I bought it in print as well. What's not to love about marionettes? Okay so some of the problems could have been solved more quickly by people opening up and talking to each other, but there were also some fun twists that played on the misconceptions and prejudices of secondary characters, A thoroughly engaging little story.
It Should Have Been Me
by Phillipa Ashley
Published by Little Black Dress
When Carrie's fiance Huw suddenly calls off their wedding, and she finds out he's marrying another woman, she's devastated. Desperate to get away, Carrie jumps at her best friend Rowena's suggestion of a road trip in her VW camper van. But when Rowena has to pull out and Matt Landor, an old friend of Huw's, ends up filling the breach, she's not so sure. Will fate take the pair on an altogether different journey?
This was a bit of a slow burner where the central relationship was concerned, even when viewed as not quite a romance. It didn't grab me as much as Fever Cure, possibly because I'd read that first (ie out of order), but I keep finding myself wanting to reread it sooner rather than later regardless.
Rapunzel in New York
by Nikki Logan
Published by Mills & Boon
Once upon a New York minute... a Knight in shining pinstripe rushed to the aid of a beautiful Maiden. Galloping up a crumbling tower block, he crashed into the chamber where she was imprisoned! The Maiden gasped and said -- that she was perfectly happy, thank you very much, and certainly didn't need saving, especially by a smug, designer-suited billionaire, and why had he just kicked in her front door? It's sometimes hard for a modern damsel in distress to admit she needs rescuing -- but at least this heroine plans to rescue her hero right back!
This had absolutely everything I want in a category romance: main characters playing to their strengths and trying very hard to hide their weaknesses (for good reason as it turns out), a varied supporting cast of humans and animals, and a building that's almost a character in its own right. The secondary stories follow the fortunes of a breeding pair of peregrine falcons and of the families, couples and individuals living in an apartment block that saw better days a long time ago, although the residents are still happy to barter services with each other and smile in the face of broken lifts and other maintenance hassles. I also loved that the central obstacles facing the hero and heroine couldn't be solved by talking, at least not until they could face their individual phobias for themselves. I have more by this author to read, and shall be looking out for the rest of her books too.
by Marjane Satrapi
Published by Turtleback Books
Here is the fascinating and equally unforgettable sequel to Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's memoir-in-comic strips of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Persepolis ended on a cliffhanger in 1984, just as fourteen-year-old Marjane was leaving behind her home in Tehran, escaping fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in the West. Here we follow our young, intrepid heroine through the next eight years of her life: an eye-opening and sometimes lonely four years of high school in Vienna, followed by a supremely educational and heartwrenching four years back home in Iran. Just as funny and heartbreaking as its predecessor - with perhaps an even greater sense of the ridiculous inspired by life in a fundamentalist state - Persepolis 2 is also as clear-eyed and searing in its condemnation of fundamentalism and its cost to the human spirit. In its depiction of the universal trials of adolescent life and growing into adulthood - here compounded by being an outsider both abroad and at home, and by living in a state where you have no right to show your hair, wear make-up, run in public, date, or question authority - it's raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.
Having enjoyed Persepolis, and being a fan in general of the graphic novel as memoir, this was a little disappointing. Maybe it's just that I'm less interested in the trials and tribulations of older teenagers and younger twenty-somethings, but I just couldn't engage with the characters. I'd like to see the continuation of the story though.
More reviews later in the week...