Golden Lies – Barbara Freethy

Golden Lies

Riley McAllister gets more than he bargained for when he visits an open day for an antiques TV show with his grandmother and a Chinese golden dragon statue that has been hiding in the attic for many years. The statue draws the attention of the Hathaway family, in particular, David Hathaway. He offers to buy the statue from Riley and his grandmother and organises for the statue to be kept overnight in his store for tests and examinations. Riley is wary but concedes in the end. News soon emerges that David has been attacked in Chinatown and the statue is missing. Why was he there? Who was the culprit? Where is the statue now? It is clear that the Hathaway family have a lot of deep secrets and together with David’s daughter Paige, Riley soon discovers that the statue is a lot more important that he once thought, and wanted by a lot of people who will do anything to get it. Riley soon develops feelings for Paige, but his history leads him to question who he can really trust…

 

Overall I enjoyed the story – mainly the mystery surrounding the statue, and the way that Paige and Riley’s falling in love was gently interweaved through the narrative. I thought that the parts which alluded to sex detracted from the pace of the novel and the main mystery itself. It did come across at times as not knowing what genre it wanted to be. The other plot threads such as David’s affair and the introduction of Alyssa added to the story but the ending seemed a little rushed. I also thought Riley’s character could have been developed a little further – his actions and speech did seem confusing as he often switched moods, and more could have been explained about his parents. 3.5 stars.

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The One You Love – Paul Pilkington

It should have been the happiest day of her life as Emma Holden is about to get married to the love of her life, Dan. However, on her hen night, she discovers at their flat that Richard, Dan’s brother, has been brutally beaten and is close to death, and Dan is nowhere to be seen. On the day that Emma should have been getting married, she is now trying to fit the pieces of her shattered life together. Is Dan really responsible for nearly killing his own brother? Is it simply that Dan didn’t want to get married and has left her? Or is there something more sinister going on?

This is a fantastic read – I was constantly gripped by the story, which was full of twists and turns that made it really hard to put the book down! Pilkington’s strengths lie in his ability to create so many complex plot strands and back stories and manages to weave them into a novel that retains its suspense throughout. It kept me guessing as to who was responsible for Richard’s attack and what happened to Dan. I think that I had suspected everyone apart from Emma by the end of the story! The ending was unexpected and once again, Pilkington manages to pepper in a few more surprises. I have a few quibbles in that the ending, although done well, seemed to end on an abrupt note (possibly because I wanted to read more as it was a great story!) and although Pilkington’s style of writing is meant to conceal the true identity and the truth, it did get a little confusing in a few places, but these are only minor problems in what was otherwise an excellent story. As a reader, one really gets involved with Emma’s plight and gets absorbed in her quest to find out the truth to the very end. 4.5 stars.

*This book is currently free on Amazon Kindle and I would recommend downloading it!

Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

This is the first of the True Blood book series, where Harris presents us with Bon Temps, a small town where vampires and humans co-exist freely but not easily. Sookie Stackhouse has a gift, or something she labels a curse: to be able to read the minds of other people. One person she cannot read the mind of is Bill Compton. There is more to Bill that meets the eye and it isn’t long before she starts falling for him, but will the uniqueness/strangeness of their relationship get in the way of their love? Or perhaps it will be the unwelcome attentions of another vampire, or the fact that he brother has been arrested for committing several murders, which are associated with vampire-hate crime, that poses a great obstacle?

This was an enjoyable read, a much better written version of the vampire-human romance genre made famous by Twilight. Some of the narrative and plot is a little odd but that could be due to the new vampire world that Harris has created. It is a good introduction to the series and I am looking forward to reading the other stories! 3.5 stars