Monday, October 29, 2018

Release Tour ~ Goodbye, Kate by Nicola Haken (Review + Giveaway)

Release Tour ~ Goodbye, Kate by Nicola Haken (Review + Giveaway)

Title: Goodbye, Kate
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 29, 2018 
Cover Design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Covers
Goodbye, Kate is a thrilling, unpredictable ride ~ Heather, White Hot Reads
Deception, action, drama, angst, and love ~ Stephanie, Goodreads Reviewer 
Truly phenomenal read! ~ Michelle, One Click Aholics
Crime families and mob wars only exist in the movies. Betrayal. Violence. Murder. They don’t happen to ordinary people.
For Lincoln Hollis, this is his world, and there isn’t a clapperboard in sight. A trained killer and advocate of justice, he’s been sent to unravel the neat little bow tied around Kate Fletcher’s perfect life, exposing her to the brutal truths she’s been so meticulously shielded from, before delivering the ultimate punishment for her family’s sins.
There’s just one problem. They’re his family’s sins, too, and he must make a choice.
Who will he say goodbye to first?

5 Stars!
I knew this lady could write, but I'd never read a MF tale of hers. She blew me away with how her brain works.

I'm lucky enough to have beta'd this tale for NH, so I've seen it in various stages of incarnation, and even in its first, my mouth was often hanging open as I read, and I was turning page after page, quicker and quicker. On subsequent reads, it became apparent how much I'd missed in my haste, so I'd recommend you read this slowly so as not to miss NH's imagination and the intricacies and cleverness of this tale.

I won't touch on the storyline, as it's too easy to spoil the tale, but I will tell you that there are several red herrings and that one came at a point where I was (what I thought was) settled in and reading with a feel for the tale, only for a bombshell to be dropped on me. I hadn't at all seen it coming and I'm sure NH was laughing at my expense with the feedback and commentary that I was leaving. There are more and more reveals as the tale went on, and I wonder if readers will notice the not-so-subtle hints that I missed in my first read? This is a tale that's been well thought out, well plotted, well researched and put together pretty seamlessly and though I normally don't read MF, I was engrossed in it from the start. And, at one point, I wondered if NH knows a Britain that I don't know, lol!

I liked that Kate wasn't a TSTL female lead, and that her transformation from 'daddy's little princess' (not that she was spoilt or princessy as portrayed by too many reality TV shows featuring girls with rich daddies) to what she eventually became, was done believably, if brutally. She started off rather protected from some realities of life, a little overly innocent and a little detached from people, and from some aspects of life, to someone who had her eyes opened in the most harsh and unimagined of ways. But, she pulled up her big girl panties, found her girl bollocks and got on with it. That's about all I can say about her to avoid spoiling the tale.

Lincoln, I was pretty stunned about, not having seen or had a clue about him from what I'd read in the first couple of chapters. It felt as if the focus of the tale was Kate (both per the title and how the book was panning out) and so when he got revealed, my mouth literally fell open. I liked the guy, despite who and what he was, and what he'd done to Kate and others, and that he made no excuse for himself. I don't think he liked himself at all, and am not sure that this changed, even at the end. I found this refreshing, and that he made no excuses for himself, didn't become a lily-white guy at the end of the tale, but simply one whose purpose in life and whose focus had changed. Too many leads' pasts get used as an excuse for who they become, but not in this tale, and there were no promises that Lincoln wouldn't do what needed to be done in the future, however unsavoury that may be. What NH made me do, which I've not done before when a hero is portrayed as an anti-hero, is like Lincoln from the start, and not lose that, despite who and what he was, despite the reveals and... betrayal that came. He's not a 'ticks the boxes' nice, and he's not likable in theory... but, there's something about him...

There's no sex-on-the-run in this tale, and I cannot tell you how utterly refreshing that is. No, 'we're about to be killed, but let's find a room in an abandoned ruin to have sex in, then we'll have a quick nap to recuperate, then maybe fit in another session, and we won't worry about the baddies until later', thank God. I liked that this tale was done with intelligent leads and with respect for readers' brains. Yes, it's a romance, but it feels like a romance in which the love emerges in stages, and ends up contradicting, in the best of ways, in the way it was needed, the love that came before. Sorry if this is confusing, but again, I'm aiming for no Spoilers.

This book is a tale of suspense with love at the heart of it. Love on one or both sides, is what readers will find out, and for me, it ended in a realistic HEA. I would have hated for hearts and roses and unicorns and fairy dust to come in at the very end, with a magic wand being waved, as that would have spoiled the brutality and reality of the tale for me. I liked that the romance element didn't overshadow the suspense part of the tale, didn't slow down the action or plot, and that it was almost... set aside... until the time was right, which didn't lessen said love, nor the tale, but made it feel real and that Kate and Lincoln were intelligent enough to have their priorities right and to be dealing with the reality of what'd been thrust upon them.

I caught glimpses of NH's humour in parts of this tale, despite the pace, the storyline and brutality and 'un-stomachable-ness', which can often seem 'planted' if the narrative isn't right, but she did it organically. There's a lot to smile at in this tale, mainly from Kate's dialogue and thoughts, which I thought were unaffected and true to the woman she was, and the woman she became.

In summary, though I've always liked NH's writing and think that she's one of the best MM authors out there, this tale puts her into a whole new bracket. I think her writing comes from the heart, from a great imagination, and doesn't kowtow to tropes or trends or what's currently 'in'. I don't think it needs to, if she can deliver a read of this quality, after being out of the writing game for so long. I'm in awe.

Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children. She is the author of multi-genre romance, including the Amazon international bestseller, Broken. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary friends (or talking about them with real life friends) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all-round-slave duties, bingeing on boxsets, drinking too much Pepsi Max, or fussing over her menagerie of pets. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they're sleeping…

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