On My Bookshelf – February 2019

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Well, February was a bit of a mixed bag of genres with chick lit, YA fantasy and romantic suspense! Read on for my reviews on what was on my bookshelf this month…

How To Be Second Best – Jessica Dettmann

About the book:

A hilarious and heart-warming debut that captures the dramas, delights and delirium of modern parenting. This is Marian Keyes meets Allison Pearson, with a dash of Caitlin Moran.

Going from one child to two is never all that easy for a family, but when Emma’s husband simultaneously fathers a third child three doors up the street, things get very tricky, very fast.

No longer is it enough for Emma to be the best wife and mother – now she’s trying to be the best ex-wife, and the best part-time parent to her ex’s love child, and that’s before she even thinks about adding a new bloke to the mix.

Set in an upwardly mobile, ultra-competitive suburb, this is a funny, biting, heartwarming modern comedy that looks at the roles we play, how we compete, and what happens when we dare to strive for second-best.

My review:

How To Be Second Best is a light-hearted and charming novel about Emma, a divorced mother of two. Emma’s ex fathered a baby with another woman at the same time that Emma fell pregnant, and subsequently he left Emma to move into a house down the street with his new wife. In her quest to be seen as the better mother, Emma looks after her ex’s little girl while also juggling her work around her own kids’ schedules.

Eventually Emma realises that it is time to stop being a door mat and to move on, and to accept being second best as she navigates motherhood, new love and other parents in her neighbourhood. An accomplished debut novel that is engaging, humorous, and totally relatable as a mother myself.

Available from Amazon, The Book Depository, and all good bookstores.

Reviewed as a member of the Beauty & Lace Book Club.


Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) – Laura Sebastian

About the book:

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo’s country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess–a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn’t realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage–Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser’s rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself.

My review:

Lady Smoke is the much anticipated second novel in the Ash Princess trilogy, which follows the plight of Theodosia, the young princess and rightful queen of Astrea, who has suffered years of abuse while being held captive by the invading Kaiser and his court.

Lady Smoke takes place right after the events of the first novel, Ash Princess. Theodosia flees her homeland with the help of her friends and the pirate Dragonsbane. In the hope of raising an army to defeat the Kaiser and take back Astrea from his rule, she sets out to form an alliance with another country. The only problem is that she has to take a husband, something a queen as never done before in Astrea. Through the challenges of politics, hidden agendas and love triangles, Theo grows to become a true queen and ruler. The novel also touches on the plights of refugees, and highlighting the struggles that they still have to overcome.

A beautifully written story, with well-developed characters, vivid story-telling and plenty of intrigue.

Available from Amazon, The Book Depository, and all good bookstores.

Reviewed as a member of the Beauty & Lace Book Club.


Sleight Of Hand (Outbreak Task Force #3) – Julie Rowe

About the book:

CDC nurse Joy Oshiro is stressed to the breaking point. College students are dying and no one knows why. And her new partner Dr. Gunner Anderson is frustratingly annoying–and sexy, but mainly just plain annoying–and proving difficult to avoid. He spent three years with Doctors Without Borders, and disillusioned is just the tip of his issues.

They’ll need to learn to trust one another if they have a chance at figuring out who is behind the attacks. She makes him laugh, makes him forget–for a little while. But each new clue keeps them one step behind the terrorists, with buildings and evidence being destroyed just as they near.

Now they’re in a race against time to not only find a cure but also to avoid becoming the next targets themselves.

My review:

The third book in the Outbreak Task Force series certainly delivers on the romantic suspense! Be taken on a wild ride as Joy Oshiro and Dr. Gunner Anderson race the clock in their attempts to track down the source of the current deadly outbreak, juggle their growing romantic attraction, and avoid becoming the next targets.

Best of all, each Outbreak Task Force novel is a standalone book in the series, so you don’t have to read the previous stories before starting this one. However, I do also highly recommend the previous two novels Viable Threat, and Smoke & Mirrors, if you are a lover of romantic suspense.

Available from Amazon, The Book Depository, and all good bookstores.


You can find all my previous On My Bookshelf posts here.


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