Well, I just read The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime in the space of about 30 hours. I rocketed through them. I couldn't get enough. I broke myWell, I just read The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime in the space of about 30 hours. I rocketed through them. I couldn't get enough. I broke my usual rule of not reading a series straight. Now I am being punished in that I have to wait FOREVER for the third and final installment.
I absolutely love Kestrel and I love Arin. On the surface unlikable, selfish, ruthless people. On the surface, diametrically opposed, sworn enemies, star-crossed lovers etc etc. But handled with so many nuances - as individuals and as a couple - that it's so much more than that. The game is upped in this second installment - no middle book syndrome here - and the intrigue is spooled out at just the right pace, with a touch that reminds me in places of Tamora Pierce.
Looking back, the writing was beautiful, metaphor-heavy but I never got bogged down in it, I just raced through, glutting myself, WANTING TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, hoping against my better sense for a happy ending, only to be left flailing, looking at the untitled, unrelease-dated entry for the third book and crying.
Highly, highly recommended - with the caveat that, unlike me, you savour it....more
You might remember that the four installments that make up The Golden Key Chronicles gave me upteen sleepless nights earlier this year. Well I'm pleasYou might remember that the four installments that make up The Golden Key Chronicles gave me upteen sleepless nights earlier this year. Well I'm pleased to say that the first book of its sequel series is shaping up to be much the same.
After wooing us with Prince Caedmon in the first series, now we have a reversal and a modern-day hunk as the love interest. Happy to report that Rhys is equally as swoonsome, especially if you're in to the more 'alpha' males! Faedrah is charming, her confusion with the 'modern world' done well and with a light-touch, her innocence chiming well with worldly Rhys!
LOVED seeing all our old favourites in their happy middle-age (and pleased to see Rowena and Caedmon are still at it like rabbits!) and WHAT A HORRID CLIFF-HANGER. Can't wait until The Sacrifice arrives on my Kindle and I can continue the ride......more
2.5 stars. I struggled with this. I actually started reading it months ago - twice - and put it down each time. When I picked it up for the third time2.5 stars. I struggled with this. I actually started reading it months ago - twice - and put it down each time. When I picked it up for the third time I knew for sure that it wasn't just that I wasn't in the mood for a slow-burn depressing domestic mystery, and forced myself to finish.
It's not bad. It's very accomplished for a debut and there are instances of breathtaking prose. The structure is clever and handled admirably; I didn't get lost or confused as to where we were in the Before or After once. But the structure itself causes fault - it means that you lose all tension or anticipation with the Before scenes, as you know from reading the interspersed After scenes that all these red herrings are exactly that, and lead nowhere, as Naomi is still missing over a year later. And the After scenes, well, they are just Jenny sitting in a cottage, thinking to herself, painting - hardly gripping.
I just didn't connect or care, and that was what made it a slog. Nothing rang particularly true - and I know I'm not a GP or a mother of three teenagers, but still. All the characters are odious pricks. The ending was a bit eye-rolly, right when I wanted it to pack the sort of punch that would have made it a solid three-star read. It never got there.
So, all in all, a bit of a disappointment. But it does sit better with other readers, and if you're interested by the blurb and an aficionado of the genre, certainly don't be put off by my review!
I already knew that Beth Revis was a beautiful writer and wrote sci-fi with a fantasy soul very, very well. Stunning turn of phrase, relate-able charaI already knew that Beth Revis was a beautiful writer and wrote sci-fi with a fantasy soul very, very well. Stunning turn of phrase, relate-able characters, swoonsome guys and one of the most vivid dystopian worlds to ever be constructed in just one average-length book (there are ties in with the Across the Universe series, but only if you know to look for them).
I went into THE BODY ELECTRIC not knowing very much and I think that's absolutely the way to do it. It's also the reason I won't go into the synopsis here (the blurb should be more than enough to whet your appetite...). Fast-paced with short chapters, the book flew by. Although, speaking of pacing, I was left with the feeling that nothing happened for a long time and then suddenly, wham, ALL THE THINGS are uncovered and we go at rollercoaster speed all the way to the end. The ending too felt slightly abrupt, but it's so refreshing to get a standalone that I can forgive that.
I think THE BODY ELECTRIC will end up being one of my Books of 2014 and I should definitely get a paperback for my collection!...more
3.5 stars. Another very good histfic read from Joanna Hickson. She has a very engaging and present writing style without making the subject matter ana3.5 stars. Another very good histfic read from Joanna Hickson. She has a very engaging and present writing style without making the subject matter anachronistic. This book felt a little long though, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I did The Agincourt Bride, but maybe that's because "Proud Cis'" character was, by nature, a bit cold. I did however really enjoy the other POV character, Cecily's illegitimate half-brother Cuthburt, and was surprised to read at the end that he was a complete fabrication.
Joanna Hickson is fast becoming an autobuy author for historical fiction (where I am notoriously hard to please); can't wait for her next. ...more
Okay, so, me giving a Mhairi McFarlane book ALL THE STARS is getting boring and commonplace, I know. But I wouldn't even want to buck the trend if I cOkay, so, me giving a Mhairi McFarlane book ALL THE STARS is getting boring and commonplace, I know. But I wouldn't even want to buck the trend if I could. These books are such a high point, things to look forward to with indecent impatience, the Christmas dinner of my reading year.
What was unexpected was 'It's Not Me, It's You' taking over as my favourite Mhairi read (putting it up there in my Top Reads Ever). I always love a Mhairi heroine and wish she was my best friend but Delia was just too perfect. I want her to cook for me, I want her wardrobe, I want to drink wine and discuss storyboards with her. I think that not a small amount of Mhairi's success is down to just that - writing amazing women that other women want to be friends with (writing amazing men too... Adam [and even Paul, to an extent] being particularly enthralling here).
And of course Mhairi's just hilarious. Reading this book I laughed so hard I almost dropped my Kindle in the bath (therefore reading this book in the bath not recommended). I laughed so hard reading whilst lunching at my desk that I misted a colleague with a light spray of semi-chewed jacket potato (and she laughed too when I showed her the offending passage, so that's all okay). As a recovering Londoner myself I love the sharpness with which she catches the Big Smoke, but as with her other books, Mhairi makes me want to see more of GB, in this case Newcastle which sounds delightful.
Anything more I say will no doubt just be echoed in the hundreds and hundreds of 5 star reviews that will avalanche when this gem is released. I already want to read it again.
I loved Carmel's last book Beyond Grace's Rainbow and so I saved The Life You Left for my day-long journey off to my honeymoon as I knew it would gripI loved Carmel's last book Beyond Grace's Rainbow and so I saved The Life You Left for my day-long journey off to my honeymoon as I knew it would grip my attention. I wasn't wrong. I practically bit the head off the air hostess who told me I had to turn off my Kindle for descent on the second plane as I only had a few percent to go (an advert for paperbacks remaining relevant!).
Without warning Sarah's husband ups and leaves her with their three young children and a whole lot of debt. This corresponds with Sarah beginning to see the "imaginary friend" of her childhood again, her guardian angel Edward, who has not only come to help her through the trauma but to guide her as her latent spiritual gifts of precognition begin to mature and come to the fore. Sarah foresees the murder of a local woman, and afterwards continues to experience "flashbacks" and "instincts" that lead her to discover the identity of the killer (with the help of her private detective twin brother James!).
The same charming, friendly flow that made Grace and her friends so real and immediate is here again in spades. This cross-genre offering is honestly gripping and thrilling - the murder mystery! - and moving - Sarah's inexplicable plight and those of the people she uses her gift to help.
Another triumph from Carmel Harrington; next one please!! ...more
3.5 stars. I intended to dip in and out of this meaty biography but ended up reading it straight, like I would a novel. A bit dense and repetitive at3.5 stars. I intended to dip in and out of this meaty biography but ended up reading it straight, like I would a novel. A bit dense and repetitive at times, especially as I didn't have anything more than a working knowledge of the Romanovs or the Revolution.
Although purported to be a biography of the four girls, I came away knowing a lot more about their mother Alexandra than either of the Grand Duchesses. Helen Rappaport spends the first fifth or so of the book on Alix's childhood, whereas Tsar Nicholas does not get the same treatment.
The level of detail from the girls' letters and diary entries saved the book from becoming too formulaic and dry. The level of research and use of primary and secondary sources is extensive, comprehensive and really impressive. I now want to get my hands on Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs by the same author....more
I think I was disappointed in this. It got very repetitive and sometimes the writing style became very peculiar, as if Alison Weir was forgetting hersI think I was disappointed in this. It got very repetitive and sometimes the writing style became very peculiar, as if Alison Weir was forgetting herself and slipping back into her non-fiction style, and just listing what had happened chronologically rather than telling a story. Her Elizabeth was a little caricature at times too.
Basically, it was fine, but there are better Elizabeth I bio-novels out there....more
I'm still reeling half an hour after finishing. My chest is actually aching. How deliciously horrible this book is. I think it should be mandatory reaI'm still reeling half an hour after finishing. My chest is actually aching. How deliciously horrible this book is. I think it should be mandatory reading for everyone, women AND men. Made all the more effective when you realise, with a chill, how very close we are to being a society like this. I don't want to say anything further for risk of causing preconceptions in potential readers. Definitely pick this up....more
Not as frothy as appearances would lead you to believe! Deals sensitively and realistically with issues of unrequited love and relationship trianglesNot as frothy as appearances would lead you to believe! Deals sensitively and realistically with issues of unrequited love and relationship triangles with a pretty much perfect ending. Quirky in a way that only these sort of British contemporaries can be, this was an absolutely delightful read that had me gripped until the very end, and relishing in the amazing dose of nostalgia. ...more
What an absolute life-saver this little book is. It is quite literally having an amazing mate who writes for wedding magazines to carry around in yourWhat an absolute life-saver this little book is. It is quite literally having an amazing mate who writes for wedding magazines to carry around in your handbag and consult whenever you need to on the practicalities of throwing the wedding of your dreams at "high street" prices. 'The High Street Bride's Guide' has saved me HOURS of research time and linked me up with tons of useful suppliers and websites. I've also found myself tweeting directly at the High Street Bride herself when I need a little extra guidance with my wedding planning and she's always been super, super helpful!
This book is definitely the modern Bride-to-Be's bible. Unhesitatingly recommended....more
The first instalment, Rowena's Key, ended on a massive cliffhanger. Candra's Freedom begins two years later - and in that intWhat an addictive series!
The first instalment, Rowena's Key, ended on a massive cliffhanger. Candra's Freedom begins two years later - and in that intervening time the sassy Rowena who I loved from the first book has become even more badass! I absolutely LOVED the 'combat scenes' - notoriously difficult to write well, and in a way that translates and makes sense to the reader - but it was like I was watching a film - excellent!
Poor Caedmon - after winning Rowena's heart against the odds in book 1, now she's had her memories taken away he's got to do it all over again - but this time it will be harder, as Rowena has had an awful time of it whilst he's been away; obtaining her freedom is her one and only priority.
These short novellas REALLY pack a punch - a quick but immensely satisfying read; but be warned, there's ANOTHER epic cliffhanger! Luckily I have been able to go straight on to book 3 :)...more
Loved this book! I empathised so much with the main character, Becky, who - when she is forced to break up with her long-term boyfriend when he proposLoved this book! I empathised so much with the main character, Becky, who - when she is forced to break up with her long-term boyfriend when he proposes to her and she realises he's not her Mr Right - uses it as an opportunity to strive for the life she's always felt she should be living. She moves down to London and - whilst still on the look out for the elusive Mr Right - attempts to forge a career as the British Carrie Bradshaw. Supporting Becky all the way are her best friends Emma and Katie - along with a supporting cast of varied characters.
This is a fantastic, traditional-yet-modern-feeling romcom with a very British flavour to it. A real page-turner that I didn't want to end and will be recommending to chicklit loving friends. I'll definitely have to pick up the paperback!...more
This is a beautiful, layered, delicate book that I went into with no preconceptions at all. Although the concept of a triple-layered tale might intimiThis is a beautiful, layered, delicate book that I went into with no preconceptions at all. Although the concept of a triple-layered tale might intimidate, the plot is subtly fed through, and eventually the separate tales intermingle, and never once was I confused or overwhelmed by information.
When I first saw the cover of this book it reminded me of the cover of Barbara Erskine's masterful timeslip novels, and I'm pleased to report that the contents hold up to that as well. ...more
This book had me smiling from the very beginning. Although there is a darker subject matter - with both Shea and Brando having very personal demons toThis book had me smiling from the very beginning. Although there is a darker subject matter - with both Shea and Brando having very personal demons to battle - the read is a funny and fast-paced, with just the right balance struck between the emotional story and the racier scenes. Shea and Brando are written to interact brilliantly with one another - I loved the sarcastic banter and teasing - and the ending left a big smile on my face. Definitely have to move Jane's other novel up my TBR list!...more
This gentle but racy historical novella was pacey enough to read in one sitting. I haven't had the pleasure of reading the first instalment in the MenThis gentle but racy historical novella was pacey enough to read in one sitting. I haven't had the pleasure of reading the first instalment in the Men of Fir Mountain series, but each story is standalone - but I can see how they are weaved skilfully together and it definitely left me wanting more!...more