Review: Vienna Waltz by Mary Lancaster

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 17.03.03Synopsis:

Intrigue, suspicion and true love at the Congress of Vienna…

In 1814, with Napoleon finally defeated, the great and the good of Europe descend on Vienna to plan a lasting peace – and to dance.

Ejected from her home on the death of her father, Lizzie Gaunt – along with her gaggle of siblings and a large, unruly dog – finds herself in Vienna with her diplomat uncle. But Lizzie is determined not to remain dependent upon her aunt and uncle for long. After witnessing a daring theft, she recruits the unusual thief to carry out her plan – which should hurt no one except her father’s heir, the vile Russian cousin she’s dubbed Ivan the Terrible.

However, Lizzie’s simple scheme is soon complicated by a wounded Austrian spy, a formidable English matron, a masked Russian rakehell from the Emperor’s masquerade ball, and a mysterious villain selling information that could ruin the Congress before it properly begins. And then there’s Cousin Minerva’s romantic difficulties, and Cousin James’ gambling debts to sort out.

While Vienna dances, Lizzie tries to solve everyone’s problems, and ends by falling disastrously and dangerously in love.

 

Review:

I stumbled upon Mary Lancaster’s Vienna Waltz while doing research for a historical romance I would like to write. Since I love Vienna (it’s one of my favorite places to visit) and I’ve always been fascinated by the Austro-Hungarian empire, this was the perfect historical romance for me to read.

Vienna Waltz starts with a theft. Our heroine, Lizzie, is at the opera with her aunt and cousins when she witnesses a thief snatch a woman’s necklace. This act leads to a case of mistaken identities and romantic intrigues that in the heart of the Austrian capital.

This lighthearted and romantic novel does a fantastic job of capturing the grandeur and the intrigues around the Congress of Vienna, when heads of state gathered to negotiate long-term peace following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Lancaster does a wonderful job of weaving fact with fiction, peppering her story with historical figures and a charming Russian hero, Vanya, who is not at all what he appears to be. In Lizzie, we get a headstrong heroine who is determined to do what she can for her orphaned sisters and brothers, even if it means putting her own life on a shelf.

If you love reading historical romances set during the regency era, but would love to read something other than stories set in England, then give Mary Lancaster’s Vienna Waltz, the first book in her Imperial Season series, a try. It’s exciting, well written and such a delight to read. I fell in love with Vanya and Lizzie and I think you will too.

My rating?

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 16.39.30

My Signature for the Blog

Review: Faking Friends by Jane Fallon

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 19.57.44

Title: Faking Friends

Author: Jane Fallon

Release Date: 11 January 2018

Synopsis:

Best friend, soulmate, confidante . . . backstabber.

Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.

Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.

There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.

Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back.

Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.

REVIEW

Jane Fallon’s Faking Friends is a great page turner of a read that had me hooked already from page one. I loved following Amy’s story as she comes to realise that the man she loves has not been faithful and the woman he’s been unfaithful with just happens to be Amy’s closest friend. What unfolds from then onwards is an addictive tale of frenemies, revenge and dreams (lost and found).

A fun read that shows us Amy’s past and present, and gives the reader a satisfying story that leaves us asking whether revenge is really worth it and what happens when a frenemy becomes a full-blown enemy.

Highly recommended!

My rating?

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 16.39.30

SaveSave

Review: Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.37.09Some books simply speak to you. That was the case for me with Halsey Street by Naima Coster.

Penelope’s story of leaving Pittsburgh and returning home to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her father, whose health has deteriorated almost as much as their family home on Halsey Street.

The Brooklyn Penelope returns to is undergoing gentrification. All the old businesses, including the record shop her father owned, have disappeared, as have many of the neighbours she knew, replaced now by hipsters and upwardly mobile white urban professionals with the cash to pay higher rents and property prices. Penelope tries to find her way–in her personal life, with her father and the past–as her old neighborhood transforms around her–for good and bad.

Coster does a fantastic job of pulling the reader into this story of family, loss and change. She captures perfectly Penelope’s frustration at her situation and her father’s, at the attraction she feels for her landlord’s husband, and her uncertainty of what the rest of life has in store for her. The characterisation and story arc are detailed without being overwrought. Quite simply, this is prose that sparkles.

Highly recommended!

My rating:

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 16.39.30

Review: Haunted by Christina C. Jones

Haunted CoverI love a good paranormal story–especially one that is creepy and sexy at the same time–so I was intrigued when author Christina C. Jones began sharing teasers on Facebook of a paranormal story she was working on. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. I finally had to ask her if she’d already released it–the impatient Golden in me just couldn’t wait. 🙂

Haunted – a paranormal love story is very different from Christina’s other books, which has been more romantic in nature(contemporary romance and romantic suspense), so I could understand when she said she was hesitant in releasing it. Fans do not always react well when authors release something that is completely different from what they usually write.

ChristinaJOnes

Christina C. Jones

Well, I can say that, having read Haunted, I am one very happy Christina C. Jones fan. We start with what seems like a very normal situation, club manager Khalida is in bed with her boyfriend Travis (whom she is beginning to find a bit tiresome) and she is unable to sleep. But pretty soon we understand that all is not what it seems. Beneath the very normal veneer of her life, Khalida is hiding a secret–a fantasy (phantom, perhaps?) lover who satisfies her in ways that Travis never could. The intensity of her fantasies is increasing to the point that she is finding it hard to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. And then a very handsome, very intense man called Aram walks into her life. Aram has secrets of his own and Khalida is connected to them–even if she doesn’t initially understand how or why.

I won’t give away more of the plot, just know that if you want to read a well-written, intriguing and sexy paranormal novella featuring African-American characters, then Haunted – a paranormal love story is just what you need! I loved reading it and I think you will too!

My rating?

5_Star

Review: Coming Down by Carrie Elks

Coming Down CoverI am a total sucker for stories about second chances at love. I’m also a sucker for books set in the UK. It’s been this way since the mid-90s when I first began reading chick lit by authors like Victoria Routledge, Jane Green, Abigail Bosanko, Dorothy Koomson… so when I first heard about Coming Down (the first book in the Love in London series) I immediately added it to my TBR list. The cover was already enough to hook me–Big Ben and double-decker buses against a sunset sky? Yup, I love London and this was enough for me. Then I read the blurb and was intrigued–a man from the past, a woman trying to make up for her past mistakes, a neglected child who needs love and security? Okay, now I was totally hooked. Of course I bought it. How could I resist?

Coming Down by Carrie Elks tells the story of Beth and Niall’s shared past and what happens when their paths cross after so many years apart. Beth is in a comfortable marriage that lacks passion and Simon, her wealthy and much older husband, feels more like her doting (though sometimes a tad bit controlling) guardian rather than the man of her dreams. While he provides her with financial security, he’s also scrubbed away any of Beth’s rough edges and honed her into the perfect pretty trophy wife–always beautifully turned out for social events, always knowing the right hostess gifts, etc. But what he hasn’t managed to do is stop her from working at the inner-city drug clinic where she helps the children of recovering addicts. When the clinic needs a new volunteer art teacher, Simon’s daughter recommends an artist who turns out to be Niall, the man who once turned Beth’s life upside-down and who introduced her to a world of drugs that ended up pulling her into a downward spiral.

Both Niall and Beth are different people now. They’ve conquered their drug problems and they’re both trying to make up for a past mistake that led to the death of a friend. Initially, they pretend there is no connection between them, but it’s obvious the years apart have not dulled their attraction to one another. And their love of the children at the clinic keeps bringing them together. Well, I won’t reveal any more details. I’ll just say I thoroughly enjoyed reading their story and can’t wait to delve into the next book in the Love in London series, Broken Chords, which comes out later this week. 🙂

My rating? 5_Star