Thursday 11 August 2016

Book Review & Giveaway - Country Rivals by Zara Stoneley - Booklympics

Amazon UK
Title: Country Rivals (The Tippermere Series)
Author: Zara Stoneley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 11th August 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Dashing eventer Rory is ready to button up his breeches and settle down. His gorgeous wife, Lottie, wants a bank balance in the black so she can protect the beautiful family estate for future generations.

But with the wedding business at Tipping House going up in flames, and rumours that it was arson not accident, Lottie begins to wonder who she can trust with her future.

Tranquil Tippermere is under siege as movies moguls and insurance investigators invade the countryside, and as events gather pace rescue plans start to look too good to be true, and intentions may not be as honourable as they seem.

As a moody, but definitely marvellous, polo player enters the fray and squares up to the eventing hero of Tippermere, does Lottie stand to lose her husband as well as her home?

What a welcome return to Tippermere this was. From the second I saw the list of characters at the start, I was reminded instantly of my love affair with this series, and how eager I was to get into this one.  The first chapter could not have started any better, having me laughing at Lady Elizabeth, while being introduced to a new character very early on. 

Having read the rest of this series in order, I would recommend reading them all, but this can definitely be read as a standalone book without too much trouble. There is enough back story included, as well as a whole new set of characters to add a new dynamic to the story. 

At first I really wasn't sure what to think about the film crew that were being allowed to film on the grounds of  house, however it does introduce us to Xander who is a sexy polo player, that may just attract Lottie's interest, and Jamie a youngster who Lady Elizabeth has taken a shine too. 

The story feels a lot less sex mad this time around, and a lot more mature and emotional as events unfold. I was at one point feeling high adrenalin in a scene with the horses which turned into shock, and then upset, followed more high emotions during a scene just chapters later. Then there are the two three year old children that Rory seems to end up looking after more often than not, and Roxy, with her inability to pronounce her "Rs" is adorable and such a handful, and is clearly the star of every scene she is in. 

There are a good deal of deeper themes running through the story, from the finances of the estate, to whether Lottie is ready for or wants children and how events in childhood can really affect your adulthood. There is a real villain of the book, who although it won't come as too much of a surprise as to who it is, the levels of the deception will shock and the overall reveals for it, were unputdownable. 

I am a massive fan of Zara Stoneley's writing, and her ability to give all the animals such great personalities as well as the children being pretty spot on age wise, and how she has grown all the characters over the series so far. There is a whole menagerie of dogs and horses this time around, some old and some new, and although we don't really get much Polo or eventing, there is plenty of horse riding, and pony riding, to give you a good feel about what life in a horse yard may be like. 

I'm desperately hoping that this won't be the last we see of Tippermere, as there is so much more that could be done with this wonderful group of characters, even if the focus changed slightly. From the books I've read in the series so far, it is amazing how good the character development has been for the key cast over a three book arc, and I would love to see where they will go from here. Another fantastic addition to this series that I adored reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Giveaway - Win a signed copy of Country Rivals (Open Internationally)

To celebrate paperback publication day of Country Rivals, Zara Stoneley has very kindly offered us a signed copy as a prize. 

Giveaway open Internationally, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 18/8/2016. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Win a signed copy of Country Rivals (Open Internationally)

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