The cover didn't draw me in at all. I loved the rich chocolate colour but the design, picture and silhouette of the person was nondescript to me. AllThe cover didn't draw me in at all. I loved the rich chocolate colour but the design, picture and silhouette of the person was nondescript to me. All it made me think of was the genre history, and The Flame and the Moth is as far from history as you could get.
The title was intriguing: it told me of something dangerous (the flame) and something vulnerable (the moth) and of course it's book 2 of a book that I've already read: The Curse of Fin Milton. The theme is magic, sorcery, ghosts, adventure and a family feud. It isn't a light read and it's in multi viewpoint, which does make it difficult to stay in tune with the main character.
The look inside got straight into the story with Fin Milton astral planing (a sort of out-of-body travel. Beats rush hour, that's for sure!) through New York. The first line made me think of impending doom for this strong character: It wasn't the first time Finn Milton had astral planed through New York city, but it would prove to be his last.
Finn has many magical abilities: astral planing, reading minds and heightened hearing. He lives alongside others with his abilities in modern England in the seaside town of Cornwall. An excellent location because Cornwall is steeped with folklore legends.
Finn's now with his sweetheart, Ellie, and she's heavily pregnant. Together they travel back to Cornwall because Finn's father had been involved in an incident, which has put him in a coma in hospital. Finn was shocked to hear this news, so I couldn't understand why it took him several more days to visit his dad, albeit he sent someone else (Branna) before he'd even left New York, but still, once back in England Finn slept, ate and chatted about NY before seeing his dad.
And again, when his beloved wife went into labour, he spent more time with new friends instead of rushing to her side. These characterizations make Finn a little cold, and I don't think that was the author's intention. Also, there was a lot of talk about Finn being powerful, but he didn't come across like that to me. He was a likeable character, but he relied on too many people to be 'powerful'.
Branna was a character that was powerful, however. She didn't seem to need anyone, and she is one character who stayed with me since book 1. She was the reason for the family feud beginning by killing her evil father and brother in book 1, but they were the bad guys so they had to go.
Other than my nitpicks, this is an interesting story of a family at war with one another, and I was so batting for the Milton's!
The Connelly's (the baddies) are an evil bunch and don't care who they hurt to get to Finn Milton. The book seemed to come alive the more madder and crazier Cillian became. He was one scary person!
The book was addictive, and I couldn't once predict the ending. It had lovely friendships between the characters and The Flame and The Moth truly was bad verses evil.
A few typos, mainly the speech mark being inside punctuation, but nothing spectacular. The men in the story, with an exception to Cillian, appeared a little effeminate but otherwise great characterisation.
The mixed POV took away some of the story's power and needs to be contained, or even eradicated completely, to make this an excellent book.
Overall, an interesting story which would probably appeal to the YA genre.
This is a collection of short stories by authors from this group. If you have children this little gem will touch your heart, make you laugh, shock, anThis is a collection of short stories by authors from this group. If you have children this little gem will touch your heart, make you laugh, shock, and cry....more
This is the last of the Roma Nova saga. I can't say much about the cover other than it's similar to the last two books, and although I found the coverThis is the last of the Roma Nova saga. I can't say much about the cover other than it's similar to the last two books, and although I found the covers dull, together they make an impressive collection.
The title Successio, in Latin, means descent, inheritance, succeeding etc so I think this book could focus on the main protagonist's family life. Maybe the grandmother, Aurelia Mitela (Nonnie), elderly in the last book, has died and Carina inherits? Shall have to read to find out.
The blurb nicely includes a first line hint at the troubles of the previous episodes before drawing me back into Carina's life. The blurb also reinforces my belief that this book will concentrate on troubles brewing in the Mitela household.
The look inside is again (almost) the same as the others--background story--which because I commented on before I shan't do so here.The only difference was the illustration of Carina. A nice touch.
Straight into the review of the story...
The beginning hinted at friction between Carina and her stepdaughter, Stella, which was nicely done. Nothing heavy handed. Then Conrad received a mysterious letter where Carina, instead of asking him about its contents, decided to be sneaky and follow him.I've always come away feeling that Conrad and Carina aren't a strong match for one another. They seem to mistrust the other, and in Book 1 and 2 I felt it was because he'd picked up on the sexual spark between Carina and Apollodorus--maybe he'll just never forgive her. Maybe I read too many romances!
Anyway, instead of asking her husband what the hell is going on Carina follows him and discovers he has a daughter from a past relationship laying claim to his affections. Nicola Sandbrook is resentful of Conrad's other family (Carina and her children) but worse, she is now the heir to the throne after the beloved death of Grandmother Nonnie (I came to love this character, and it was a sad moment when she passed).
Nicola is a nasty, flawed character, and intent on destructing the entire foundations of the Mitela household. She first causes trouble by trying to lead Carina and Condrad's oldest daughter, Allegra, astray, but then settles on Stella (another daughter from Condrad's past) and uses Stella's jealously over her stepmother Carina to worm her way into the Mitela household.
Then her destruction gets steadily worse as Carina and Condrad drift even further apart.
Successio, like the others in the series, is a plot driven book rather than character but I preferred Successio to the others because in this one, Carina seems more human and less of a superwoman. Conrad was allowed emotions as well, but so much so, I began to think he was a wimp! Neither could I understand why he was blind to Nicola's evilness and turn his back on Carina and their other children.
Subtly, Morton had dropped into the story that Conrad had had an accident and although recovered physically I felt his mental state was still in rehabilitation (because of his eagerness to side with his villainous daughter), but whether this was intended or not, I wasn't sure.
Even so, Carina was cruel to break the news in front of others about the activities of this bad daughter. She should have waited until they were alone. Their massive bust-up over it could still have happened, but the reader would have been more in Carina's court. Instead, I lost sympathy for her a little.
It's a tight read, tighter than the others, which seemed to have many little sub-plots feeding through. I did think that Carina would have had more respect at work by now, and the constant put downs she received was unnecessary because she'd proved herself time and again that she was an effective solider.
Successio is probably the only book out of the three that you could read as a stand-alone novel. It's genre is an alternative history (and well thought out) but first it's a crime story with a strong emphasis on thriller.
The cover is in line with the rest of the books in the series. I haven't changed my opinion on the cover, I still dislike it. But this time I looked uThe cover is in line with the rest of the books in the series. I haven't changed my opinion on the cover, I still dislike it. But this time I looked up what Perfiditas means: faithlessness and treachery. Oooh, piqued my interest instantly!
The blurb gives a little from the previous book, which acts as a nice reminder for those who have read it. Perfiditas begins seven years after the first, and Carina has got it together with love interest, Conrad, and is now a mother of two. I'm disappointed that I wasn't privy to their 'coming together'. In book one, they'd split up and I'd have loved to have seen them make up. But that's a romance reader talking. I have to remind myself that this is a thriller.
The look inside was all taken up with the same intro that had appeared in the first book, which I thought unnecessary, but these books could possibly be read as stand-alone reads (not something I'd recommend because there is a LOT going on with characters carrying on their role from the previous instalment), so the author probably thought it was needed for that reason.
Perfiditas opened with Carina discovering the 'entrapment' of Aidan, seemingly, he had disappeared after dipping his hand into the cash drawer at work. It seemed trivial, and Carina was ready to dismiss it as such, but a hunch made her pursue it. Aidan was under surveillance from several minders: at home and work.
The build to his 'kidnap' was a brilliant hook and held my attention as Carina took charge, taking on many disguises to discover what was going on, so I was disappointed when I was just told that he had been liberated.
That wasn't the end though, Carina needed to find out why he'd been held and why she, are all those held dear to her, were being slandered. The plot thickens... but like the first book Morton tends to have her characters plan and discuss the tactics to be used instead of having actions. It is a little disappointing (for me), but it's the author style, and in no way 'wrong'.
I'd have liked Conrad to be her sidekick, instead of being pushed to one side. Other men are listed as 'dangerous' and 'exciting' instead, and I feel this should have been Conrad's role. Anyway, Carina finds herself in the middle of a plot to overthrow the government (her family) and kidnap her children and herself (to possibly kill them) so no female heirs can carry the 'throne'.
She goes on the run, seeking out her old villainous friends, whom we become acquainted with again, it was good to meet them, but Carina's children, and the rest of her family, seemed like mere observers in her exciting life.
I could understand that she wanted to separate her dangerous working life from that of her family but maybe, slowing down, and allowing the reader into this calmer life would turn this into an amazing thriller. As it stands, it felt like something was missing--a spark--emotion--can't quite put my finger on it.
I just wish they'd been more of this: Normally, I relished the buzz of going undercover on an operation. But no adrenaline raced through my body now. I had no doubt I'd been on the brink of being arrested as a conspirator; I'd been trapped into deserting my post so would be pursued; I was cut off from my family, my children and my love. A cold wave washed through me. Deep down, I had never felt so alone.
And less emotionless planning to bring down her enemies or sudden 'Oh, I have children/a husband' mentions. Because of this I couldn't feel much empathy for Captain Carina Mitela.
Also, the revelation that Renschman had died was placed into the story so matter-of-factly I almost missed it. I know I described him as a pantomime villain in the first book, but felt his character was a waste to just kill him off in a sentence.
Over all, this story focuses on a treason plot on her family (the government), and the fallout of Carina’s attempt to put things right. I was disappointed with Conrad for not understanding her reasons for getting things done quickly (illegally) but the sexual tension between Carina and Apollodorus was so strong I knew why.
And Alison Morton can do emotional; the ending actually made me go awwww. So I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series: Successio. ...more
The cover didn't jump out at me, I didn't know what the image meant and neither did I understand the title and had to look it up (it's Latin for beginThe cover didn't jump out at me, I didn't know what the image meant and neither did I understand the title and had to look it up (it's Latin for beginning). What the cover strongly told me was that the book was literary fiction, and maybe a little heavy-going.
The blurb, however, tells a different story. It's exciting! It's present day and Karen is angry and frightened after surviving a kidnapping attack. The blurb immediately draws me into the meat of the story and tells me not only who the main character is but also what the book is about. It has just enough information to tell me that the book has an alternative history and Karen could be a Lara Croft type character. I hope she's not going to be too perfect though...
The look inside puts me off with a page of reviews, and then came the Historical Note and I admit I groaned a little. History lesson, I thought. But the first sentence: What if King Harold won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? lead to the question of an alternative history, and as that is the essence of the book my interest picked up again.
I did skip a few pages of the historical notes to get to the beginning, and the beginning opens with the main character Karen punching the nose of (unknowingly at the time) the son of the External Affairs Secretary, Hartenwyck, who is apparently the most powerful person in the country.
And so the story begins. Karen Brown is an ordinary woman and she most certainly isn't perfect. In fact, in the beginning she's a little wimpy.
Conrad Tellus is the love interest, which is very subtly developed into the book. The story doesn't hang about, and at less than a chapter in I'm pulled into Karen's world where everything she has ever known has been turned upside down. She's terrified, angry and confused and who wouldn't be? You're living your life as a nobody and all of a sudden you're sacked from your volunteer job, gain a criminal record, stalked by a Government enforcer, and have a sexy guy (Conradus Tellus) who wants to help you, with what, you're not really sure.
Renschman has a vendetta against Karen's father, and as Karen's father is dead, it's Karen who he seeks revenge from, but she doesn't know this at the time. Her secret past is cleverly left until the end to keep the reader engaged.
Karen ends up in Roma Nova, in Italy, which is ruled from the female descendent of Imperial Rome. Karen, unknown to her, is a descendent and her family want her back, they also want to protect her from Renschman.
This is where I became confused. So wanting to protect her, they allow her to become an undercover agent and act as bait for a notorious drug-running gang. OK, so Karen, or Cara, as she is now called (original birth name) learns a martial art and becomes the Lara Croft that the blurb promised, but though her transformation worked well within the story, I couldn't believe her family and friends would allow her to put herself in so much risk by pretending to work for a group of career criminals.
Another 'problem' I found, or maybe it was the authors style, was that some of the scenes and chapters seemed to cut off in their climax. For instance (Cara's in a relationship with with Lurio--or thought she was):
'You know something, Cara Bruna?' he said, his finger touching the tip of my nose. 'You are the most tremendous fuck I've ever had and I'm going to miss that.'
How coarse he could be, but it was a great compliment from him. 'What do you mean "going to miss that"?'
'After the trials next week you'll be free to go home.'
End of chapter.
The new chapter opens with the trials, and then Cara goes back to Lurio's apartment to collect her things and drop his keys through his mailbox before going 'home' to her grandmother. It's a little bit emotionless.
But at least the characters weren't one dimensional. They were real people with flaws, and we had some great characterisation from the sexy Conrad, cold and domineering Lurio, exciting Apollodorous, ice queen Somma and of course the quirky, strong-yet-ordinary Karen/Carina Brown. But the villain, Renschman, what a disappointment! He became a cartoon villain: hapless and pathetic. I bet he wore a black cape to cover his face with on his 'villainy' escapades.
The book had a lot of characters, but the author had a 'dramatis personae' at the back of the book for readers to refer back if they became lost.
Over all, Inceptio is fast-reading with interesting story lines in between the main plot of the story. It is the first of the series, and this first book is a good indicator of the characters yet to be fleshed out and I can only imagine the adventures that Cara and Conrad experience will under the skilful hands of Alison Morton.
It's an alternative history but has more emphasis on the action and crime, and if you like an intelligent read along those lines, and with a strong heroine, then this book is definitely worth a read.
It can be read as a stand-alone read.
Perfiditas follows Inceptio, and the third book, Successio will be published this month (June 2014)....more
A plain, simplistic cover yet eye-catching. Loneliness and loss were the words that sprang to mind when I saw it, and the title only enforced that thiA plain, simplistic cover yet eye-catching. Loneliness and loss were the words that sprang to mind when I saw it, and the title only enforced that thinking. I think it's a love story; a sad and maybe tragic tale of love and loss. Both the title and author name were understated but matched the cover beautifully. I don't think a screaming title or author name would be good in this instance (if I'm correct in my assumption that the novel is a tragic tale).
The blurb was straightforward, although I hadn't a clue as to what 'Southern Gothic' meant.
As I began to read the sample, I was drawn straight into the POV of Will Morse and immediately connected with his longing to be close to his daughter again after a tragic event. I was able, within a few paragraphs, to grasp the mood of the book and know exactly what the main character was feeling--brilliant! I'm buying!
Will Morse has taken himself to an old vacation cabin in the North Georgia mountains and had been there for five years; divorced from his wife and his last remaining child. But his child, an adult daughter called Alicia, calls him to tell him the news that she's getting married and she wants him at the ceremony. This is how the story begins. I thought it was going to be straightforward, but another tragedy and then a startling discovery about one of the main characters keeps me turning the pages.
The back-story was confusing at times as sometimes I found myself thinking I was in the present with Will, when in fact, I had been taken back a few years. That was my only criticism.
The emotion running through the book felt very real, and at times the depressive mood of it had me putting the book down several times, but that's not a criticism just my perspective. It's a gritty book and has excellent dialogue.
There were some great lines to lighten the tone: It was a good thing he was an ethnomusicologist; he would have starved to death as an actor. And: I looked a bit like Denver Pyle on the old Grizzly Adams TV show--the eccentric mountain man, but without the folksy.
Rain on your Wedding Day is a contemporary book, not really a romance, although there is romance in the story. The ending all came together nicely that made you feel pleased that Will was going to be happy at last. ...more
**spoiler alert** * Please note: This is the review of a copy I purchased May 2013, and since then the author as told me she has updated it to match h**spoiler alert** * Please note: This is the review of a copy I purchased May 2013, and since then the author as told me she has updated it to match her much stronger writing skills to bring it in line with the proceeding series.
Without looking at the cover, the title made me wonder if the genre was a vampire (or werewolf or ghost). The cover was powerful and definitely eye-catching but didn't match what the blurb said at first glance: polluted and overcrowded Earth. The road leading to the high-rise buildings looks very lonely, but maybe this wasn't earth? Anything that makes you stop and wonder is a good thing. Becoming Human is clearly a science fiction book and I'm quite keen to begin reading.
The opening blurb was amazing: Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret. Exciting! It went on to describe the book in a straight-forward way that was professional and interesting.
The look inside opened to the prologue and it was hard stay interested, and I must admit, I scrolled forward to the meat of the story. In chapter one I was introduced to Bill Taggart, the main character of the book, but back story had me scrolling forward again. Not a good sign.
After chapter one I'm taken into the POV of one of the aliens, bizarrely called the very human name of Simon, but I feel a connection with this alien (he is a species called Indigenes). His race feels like the 'underdog' from the beginning and together with the name: indi-genes, I already think I know the outcome. Can't wait to find out if I'm right! I buy the book...
But then comes chapter three and I'm taken into the POV of another character, and not until chapter eight am I back with the lead character Bill. Whose story is this? With so many characters I'm having trouble connecting with any of them! The main character's chapters (Bill) seems to be pure back story, the others are full of explanations of new technology so I'm really struggling.
The child, Ben (Bill and Ben, two similar names that is normally a no-no in writing) doesn't ring true. I can't engage with him and can't possibly imagine an eight year old out alone on his own with these 'dangerous' aliens running free. But then the child doesn't feature again after appearing in two chapters--not in this book anyway.
There was one person I warmed to out of all the characters in this book and that's a character called Laura. She's living on the over-populated earth and the author really does well in making the future earth sound like a horrible place to be. Laura gains some potentially dangerous information about the main character Bill Taggart and struggles with what to do with it (the govt. has evolved to be very mysterious and harsh). I'm lost though. The reader isn't told what this information is, only that Laura is worried. I also don't know why Stephen and the other aliens have gone to earth, or why they thought befriending a child would give them the necessary leads to get them there, neither do I know why, if all Stephen wanted was Taggart's help, is why he went to Earth (when Taggart was on Exilon 5), only to find Laura Hamilton so she could approach Taggart on their behalf.
Then I find out that the Indigenes are highly intelligent (much higher IQ than humans) so again the above makes no sense.
Two chapters from the end the story picks up, and my theory was correct. Basically, Becoming Human tells the story of how a future earth copes (not very well) with the population growth of humankind, and instead of altering a planet's composition to accommodate humans, the world govt. alter the humans DNA to fit with the planet's. Becoming Human could potentially be a brilliant book and I wonder if the author grew into the series as the time went on?
The ending wasn't concluded, but I think it ended at the right time, and the entire series will need to be read to get a better understanding of Exilon 5 and its inhabitants.
A boring cover. It didn't stand out but what I got from it, other than maybe that I was opening a clothing catalogue, was that it was gentle and 'seriA boring cover. It didn't stand out but what I got from it, other than maybe that I was opening a clothing catalogue, was that it was gentle and 'serious'. The title and author's name were at the expense of the cover and faded into nothing. Not only forgettable but unappealing too.
The blurb made me sit up and I particularly liked the line: Now she must choose—escape, or survive and learn to live with the changes, which especially grabbed my interest. Lark, in Her Element appears to be a brooding read about a young woman left with little choice but to change the way she's been living for whatever reasons, and I'm keen to find out, although the price (Kindle) was very expensive: £8.04 or $13.25, that's a lot of money for an eBook, even for a well known author!
In the opening chapter, I became a little confused because it read like a paranormal, but I soon realised that this was the insight of the main character's (Lark) thoughts.
The first few chapters moved through Lark’s life too fast and we were only allowed glimpses from her life as the book moved from child to adulthood. I couldn't connect with her and I really wanted to be with her on her journey, but the author (I felt) rushed the growing up bits until I felt like a distant spectator instead of being side-by-side with Lark.
The essence of the book is rejection. Lark was rejected by her father (he died), her first love (Hartmann Worth) didn't fight hard enough for her, her work colleagues rejected her... and she aches to belong. I got that. I felt her loneliness, but she was such an introvert and seemed to withdraw from human contact. In fact, I wanted to shake her for not having a backbone: Lark went to buy paint (ten tubs) and the assistants were not only rude to her but deliberately made up the wrong paint colour, and when she returned it they refused to help and implied she was the one to make the mistake. I'd have poured the paint all over their heads! (or then maybe I could do with some of Lark's calm!)
As I'd already said, part of the story felt told, as if the author was rushing through it, but then other parts, the dreary bits, were detailed over pages and pages of text. For instance, Lark met a married man, Russertt, (she didn’t know he was married at the time) but I felt the scenes were rushed just so we could linger over Lark’s depression when the relationship fell apart.
And I couldn’t believe Lark would have been fired from her job because of it, either! And then everyone gossiping about her, not just at work, but in another state when she went home? Really? The book felt very old-fashioned because of that, in fact, I’d have thought I was reading a historical had there not been mentions of modern technology.
This review seems bad, but all in all, it wasn’t a bad read, far from it. I’d describe it as a gentle and gliding story with a strong lesson in prejudice on someone's character. I think it asks the question: what if a recluse was taken from their comfort zone and pushed into the judgemental eye of her peers?
The cover was quaint and old-fashioned looking (1950s red dress). It was bright and assured me that I was getting chick lit.
The title made me think tThe cover was quaint and old-fashioned looking (1950s red dress). It was bright and assured me that I was getting chick lit.
The title made me think the lead character was in a disastrous relationship and she wanted out.
The blurb told me about the main characters: Charlotte Evans and Craig Carmichael and I instantly think they are going to end up together, no bad thing, the fun part is reading how they manage it. I loved the line: It’s what they might lose that has Charlotte and Craig wondering what it is they really want. But I haven't a clue as to how that, and the title, connect.
Chapter one opens with dialogue and immediately had my attention: "Why are you sniffing me?" "Just checking to see if you've washed that man out of your hair."
It's a brilliant opening where the reader is introduced to two sisters Emily and Charlotte. Charlotte is the main character and owns an art gallery, Emily is her married sister and the artist who supplies her with paintings to sell.
Chapter two introduces us to the other lead: Craig Carmichael. He's stressed and over-worked and has the horrible job of telling the owners of an art gallery that their shop is going to be bulldozed--that shop is Charlotte's. She's jet-lagged and not thinking straight, and he's so smitten with her he fails to tell her why he's there, and instead ends up in her bed!
This is where my sympathy of the characters slip: a young woman (in chick lit they can't be slappers!) takes a stranger back to her house and bed, and has condoms readily available in her bedside drawer (indicating she does this often).
Her actions are blamed on her being jet-lagged and drunk but later, when she discovers the reason why Craig came into the gallery, has the nerve to call the guy all the names under the sun for sleeping with her. And no, before you think it's all one sided, I didn't like him either. He knew she was drunk, yet he still went back to her house and had sex with her. Eeeeeow.
I read on but the once-thought main story line has switched direction and now I'm not sure whose story this is: Emily, Charlotte's sister has discovered her husband's adultery, and we learn that Ben (Charlotte's best friend) has been holding a torch for Emily and is in love with her. The POV moves to these new characters, plus, Emily and Charlotte's mother, Diane, is on the scene and also has a POV. It's become confusing.
I wouldn't call this book a chick lit as the cover suggests, and it's clear that this story has a multi-story line. It's not as easy-reading as true chick lit with the many characters coming and going, but as I'm further in, it HAS become more interesting.
Whereas before I HATED the main characters, Charlotte and Craig, I now like them. In fact, I think I'm a little bit in love with Craig. In the end, he came across as a true 'chick lit lovable-but-with-flaws' character. Vulnerable but strong. Charlotte strengthened too and I've forgiven her sluttiness in the beginning.
Set Me Free also has a mystery element surrounding the gallery with Craig's business partner receiving backhanders, which implements Craig in its involvement. That is unfolded slowly, drip-feeding the reader until they HAVE to keep turning the pages to find out its conclusion.
Back to the title: It's clear that the title refers to the side dish of the book: Emily and her estranged husband. The blurb needs to clarify that this book isn't focused on Charlotte and Craig but rather two sisters and the men who are in love with them.
It has a few editorial and formatting problems such as typos and double spaces changing to single, and that being said I'm giving this book a very high three out of five (shame Amazon has no half marks). It's worth a read! Read more at http://wisewords-bookreviews.blogspot......more
An interesting cover: a key among raining jasmine. The key wasn't shiny or small and together with the exaggerated ROOM in the title it made me thinkAn interesting cover: a key among raining jasmine. The key wasn't shiny or small and together with the exaggerated ROOM in the title it made me think of a house. A sinister house. The flowers added a sadness to the title. It made me think of Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews.
The blurb introduces Serena who is on her way to a job interview at Marguerite Avenue for a nannying position, and also introduces the time shift to another family from the late 1800s. It's clear the book's going to be full of mystery with supernatural going-ons. The blurb is enticing and I'm looking forward to reading.
In the 'look inside' the story begins straight away. There aren't any dedications or TOC to wade through. I like that.
The Room Beyond moves between two time periods (present day and 1892-early 1900s) but both are centred on Marguerite Avenue. It's atmospheric, but the characters were all alike, even characters from the different times, and I had problem knowing who was talking or whose POV I was reading from. Neither era stood out, although the flowery prose and the haunting way the story is told kept you suspecting something big was about to happen urged you to keep reading.
I found Serena's story easier to follow because there was just the one point of view, but I found it hard to identify with her...I still didn't know her even by the end of the book. Why did she want a nannying job? Had she been looking before she went to this interview? She wasn't qualified, so why was the job offered to her? And why did she accept the job when it's obvious the family didn't want her there? Neither could I understand why Serena fell in love, and into bed, with Seb so fast. There was no passion between them. There were many unanswered questions, I felt.
And Beth, four-year-old Beth is unbelievable. No child of those tender years would act or speak the way she does: on Eva who was discussing which university she would get into with her grades, young Beth replied: 'What about Cambridge?' A simple question, but she is four years old. And there were lots of incidents with actions that, even though it was pointed out often that "Beth wasn't a normal child", still didn't ring true.
When the book went back to 1892 the story was almost impossible to follow because of all the characters pushing for centre stage. Many times I had to scroll back wondering if I'd missed something.
In this part of the book we have four major characters: Lucinda, Alfonso, Tristan and Miranda. Lucinda's husband has left her for another woman. Lucinda takes Tristan for a lover. Tristan is married to Miranda. I felt this story could have been a book on its own. I LOVED the character Miranda, disliked selfish and flighty Lucinda and the nasty Tristan. I really wanted a HEA with this story but the author turned the tragedy into a horrorfest.
It was a sad, tragic, tale although I wasn't sure if the paranormal activity from Tristan (after he'd died) was real or just the work of Miranda's imagination.
True, it wasn't an easy read and some of the writing was so over-the-top I threw it down many times in disgust, but somehow I needed to keep with it to find out what happens at the end. It's probably the type of book you'd want to read again and then come away with another perspective.
The ending was a surprise, and one I didn't see, but when it came things slid into place a little better. The Victorian story HAD to end the way it did, I see that now, and I'm glad the present-day had a HEA (of a sort).
Editing problems such as missing or wrong punctuation, over-writing (lots of it) and unneeded characters cluttered the book, which added to the problem of a disjointed story line....more
The cover stood out for its originality and blandness, but it wouldn't have tempted me to 'look inside' had I been browsing. It looked like a universiThe cover stood out for its originality and blandness, but it wouldn't have tempted me to 'look inside' had I been browsing. It looked like a university student's course work.
The title 'Tales of M17' told me just that: tales e.g short fiction tales of crime or thriller shorts. The small subtitle The Kramski Case inferred the tales would be all on one theme.
The blurb begins with a short excerpt, but it's not productive. The opening sentence is a mouthful and out of context it has no depth. It's cold. A pile of baked beans without buttered toast. The true blurb is better and straight to the point.
The look inside takes us to Cumbria where Jilly, a member of the latest music phenomenon, is climbing out of bed with a guy from a rival band. She can hear the paparazzi outside and we're lead to believe she's worried for herself (because she's been caught with her pants down, so to speak) but the paparazzi are being assassinated and she's worried that, because of her, someone is going to die. And they do in this great beginning to M17.
When the scene switches to a prison I'm a little bereft but the setting is very visual: He sat at the table, straightened his back and flattened his hands on the Formica surface. Above him a single strip light buzzed and flickered. 'He' is Deputy Commissioner Khrantsov and he's on the point of recruiting prisoner Orlov, who's in for treason, and giving him early release. I'm presuming he's been signed to hunt for the murderers, but that's where the sample ends. Will have to buy the book to find out!
In short, the M17 have brought in three men: British, Jonathan Hartley-Brown, American, Lieutenant Detective Commander David Bronstein, and the newly-released prisoner Orlov from Russia to hunt for the killers who are spanning three countries. I'm expecting a lot of action with gun fire, helicopters and fast cars.
Jonathan Hartley-Brown is a 'posh Brit' and I find it hard to visualise him as a hardened man able to get his hands dirty, on the opposite scale Orlov is 'tough guy' Bruce Willis and I'm instantly routing for him. The American, David Bronstein, seems a lost in the great characterisation of the other two.
I became confused by chapter nine when, seemingly out of the blue, Jonathan Hartley-Brown and Jilly, from the opening chapter, fell in love. One moment he was questioning her over the shooting and next he was inviting her to meet his parents. Another problem I found was that there wasn't always any notice of scene jumps. Usually these are indicated with an asterisk or a blank line but in this Kindle version these were sometimes missing.
But I'm being picky, this is an excellent political thriller with a strong story. It may have had too many characters for me to keep tabs, but every character had their place. There were a few shockers, especially when one of my favourite characters died and another was indirectly linked with all the murders. There was also light relief in the eccentric Hartley-Brown family and I laughed out loud when Joy Hartley-Brown said (on discovering her son was gravely injured): "Tell the doctor we're with BUPA."
It's a mixed POV, and other than some absent scene breaks it was a very well-written political thriller and a fast read....more
The cover was plain but in the typical cartoon style of 'chick lit', the title was nice and large as was the author name. I liked the title. It was siThe cover was plain but in the typical cartoon style of 'chick lit', the title was nice and large as was the author name. I liked the title. It was simple, yet appealed. I was put off by 'a midwest novel' tag on the microphone but only because being from the UK I felt I might feel excluded from urban slang and so forth (I wasn't).
In the blurb I'm introduced to the main character, Whitney, who is average in just about everything. But she wants to change. She's tired of being average. What I liked about the blurb is that there wasn't any mention of 'she wants a man'.
The 'look inside' was disappointing. I like to get to the hub of the book to see if it's something I can read and hopefully download, but first I had to scroll through the three pages of TOC, then the blurb again, then the introduction and prologue (which wasn't very interesting).
The book (finally) opens introducing the alter ego of Whitney - DJ Kelly Carter. Kelly is bright, outgoing and full of energy. Whitney prefers to fade into the background. Already it's different to the normal 'chick lit' novels and I feel this is going to be an interesting read...
The chapter titles were song titles and very apt for Whitney's profession. Clever, I thought. Whitney is a nervy lady but her alter-ego (the DJ) is not. She has a nice set of friends in Sadi, Leah and Marc. There was good characterisation with the characters but Whitney should have been centre-stage for most of the time. She's wasn't, and at times I wondered whose story I was reading.
Strong Enough takes you through the dynamics of friendships, and the humour is subtle but Whitney as a character is someone you'd want to slap. She's so suspicious of everyone's intentions and beyond. I did sometimes wonder how she managed to keep such a strong friendship going with the feisty Sadi.
Over all, the book focuses on the loves and lives of several women: Whitney, Sadi and Leah with a few others not too central to the book, it's a fun read. Not too heavy and with many laughs dotted around. It has some clever shocks where the author lures you into thinking you know a character but then that character turns out to be a nasty piece of work.
I wasn't drawn into the book though, and I couldn't put my finger on the problem. There was no editing issues noticed, and the storyline was all there. The characters didn't always gel together and maybe that was the issue. They seemed, at times, to be unlikely friends.
The cover of this book was dark and 'horror' looking with the full moon, sinister house and strange figures lingering outside. The title made me thinkThe cover of this book was dark and 'horror' looking with the full moon, sinister house and strange figures lingering outside. The title made me think of superheroes and the font sent the message that it was a children's book. The cover has great imagery and really striking. It instantly held my attention.
The blurb was fast-moving and told me the genre was YA. It sounded English with its boarding schools, and I couldn't help but think of Harry Potter. Not a bad thing, but it meant I had high expectations.
The sample was straight to the story and we're introduced to Jack. The writing, though, wasn't top-notch and I'm disappointed: Jack squirmed lower in his seat as he peered through the battling... 'squirmed lower' and 'peered' don't match and it's impossible to do both simultaneously. This will confuse the reader. Another was Jack's mum slammed her foot down hard and their brand new BMW X5 4*4... what does that tell you? It told me she'd stopped the car, but instead the car 'roared up the driveway'. These small discrepancies matter. A reader is building a picture but if they have to keep redrawing that picture they aren't going to enjoy the book.
That aside the first chapter had intrigue, secrets and fear as Jack was driven to a boarding school he didn't want to attend. He has a 'plan', which we're not informed of yet, and was nicely slipped into the story to further hook the reader.
The final sentence of chapter one was somewhat a shocker: If he is found guilty David Crawford will be hauled out of his cell and led into a small courtyard to be executed by firing squad. --but compelling.
As twelve year-old Jack Crawford settles into the boarding school, I, unfortunately find my attention wandering. The POV is all over the place, and even though grammar and spelling is OK, it's over-written and the author has no sense of punctuation. Also, you can 'hear' the author's voice (an adult) and not twelve year old Jack. That's the bad news, but there are some fantastic one-liners: Jack smirked as Mr. Keeling wilted like a chocolate bunny in a microwave.-- is just one of them.
The idea behind this book seems brilliant, but I could only get as far as chapter eight before I gave up on it. The author has a good story, an awesome cover and an eye-catching blurb so I wonder why he stopped at an editor? It's a shame. Read more at http://wisewords-bookreviews.blogspot......more
Both the title and cover of this book was beautiful but I couldn't gage anything from it. The lone man on the cliff top, was he about to jump? AdmirinBoth the title and cover of this book was beautiful but I couldn't gage anything from it. The lone man on the cliff top, was he about to jump? Admiring the view? Disposing of a body? It could be a love story, thriller, romance or possibly a fantasy.
The blurb straightens out the genre: fantasy, so now the title takes on a whole new meaning. One thing that did confuse me a little was the line: What he discovers about his adopted wife's hidden past. Having read the book, I now understand that line but at first, I felt it was a typo - he'd adopted his wife?
The sample didn't hook me straight away, I must admit. It opened like a run-of-the-mill crime story, and the newspaper stories were dull. It wasn't until chapter one that my interest was piqued.
I loved the opening line Demons chased Jordan Parish down the beach and as the book opens, I learn that Melanie, Jordan's pregnant wife has gone missing. Jordan's anger is apparent (he's feeling helpless, lost and confused) but I get no grief or sadness from him and that makes him a little cold.
The Winds of Heaven and Earth took off for me when Jordan travelled to Hawaii after his missing wife's necklace was found on Big Island. There, the magic and fantasy began, and with a cynic like Jordan, it was interesting to see how his character would come to terms with the supernatural elements of the story.
I discover that, as a child, Melanie was found wandering without knowing how she got there and without memory of her past. It’s fascinating to be there with Jordan as is dawns on him that Melanie’s stepbrother, Chase (his close friend) knows the mystery to her disappearance, and that it’s no coincidence that his grandmother, Lena, was also “found” as a child and without a memory of her past. The two people who he trusts the most seem to be conspiring against him, but before he demands answers dark forces whisk Jordan and Chase away. They are separated and Jordan thinks Chase is dead.
Jordan ends up seemingly back in the past (it made me think of Merlin and King Arthur), where he learns his wife is a princess and her father, High Lord Namana, believes her to be dead. He also thinks Jordan is her murderer. It takes a lot for Namana to believe that not only is she alive, she grew up, married Jordan and is expecting his grandchild.
In this new world Jordan discovers Lena, his wife's grandmother and Chase were the keepers of his wife’s secret and know of the prophecy that she, or rather her baby, has to fulfil. It's a very visual read, and as you can probably tell from my review, heavy at times.
It has a strong storyline with excellent characterisation that you have affinity for. The main character, Jordan, seemed like a real flesh and blood person lost in a fantasy novel. He's potty-mouthed, aggressive and impulsive, and at times I wanted to throttle him but it made the story REAL.
It is a complex story with many twists and turns and with characters, which I think, will come into their own in the follow up to The Winds of Heaven and Earth. It's not a stand-alone read, but the ending isn't too much of a cliffhanger.
The chapters opened with quotes from famous poets or authors like Merwin and Arthur C Clarke, which had a nice touch.
A lovely vibrant cover. This book looked a lot of fun. The cover and title didn't tell me much: two women, wombats, sushi -- Australia? Japanese food?A lovely vibrant cover. This book looked a lot of fun. The cover and title didn't tell me much: two women, wombats, sushi -- Australia? Japanese food? The colour was simple yet very striking. The blurb was told in recipe style which was good fun, but again doesn't say much about the book. Who is the character (or characters) and what kind of story will I be told?
Nevertheless, I'm expecting laughs a minute with this book!
The 'look inside' doesn't disappoint, and I'm immediately hooked as a character called Samantha is having a mental tussle with herself on whether to go for an audition for a 'high dance show'. I liked Samantha straight away. She's very identifiable as an ordinary young woman who isn't too confident: the girl next door.
Samantha wins her audition and she and others are taken to Japan where they get into many scrapes, and this is where the story starts.This isn't a story of female solidarity in a foreign country, because no one really gets along with the other, which makes for brilliant comedy situations.
I thought I'd become lost with so many characters, but the author is skilful and the other characters don't take over. It's firmly Samantha's story.
Great one-liners and lots of comic moments. I predict great things for this author. ...more
I didn't like the cover at all, and it didn't stand out against against others in its genre. It came to me as a 'collection of thirty-seven short liteI didn't like the cover at all, and it didn't stand out against against others in its genre. It came to me as a 'collection of thirty-seven short literary humor pieces and humorous jokes that will make you laugh', so the dull-looking cover contradicted the blurb and I'm not expecting to like it at all, and normally I'd have skipped this book as boring and written by a wanna-be-but-never-gonna-be chancing author on the eBook wave. And even though the blurb was interesting, I'd never have gone on to read it.
The blurb tells me The Barber's Conundrum it is a non-fiction book of musings of life. I'm intrigued but don't expect the irony and funny situations that I'm promised. Yes, the cover, put me off that much!
The opening chapter is an introduction to the author and why he wrote the book and guess what, it was funny. It was told in a nice, I'm-your-mate way and so I continue to read. Unfortunately the next chapter is football (or soccer. Is there a difference other than one being called football in one country and soccer in another?) so my eyes glaze over, but it picks up again by the third chapter and so I buy the book.
The 'stories' are short, two to three pages at the most and the writing style is fun and light, and the irony and tongue-in-cheek jokes are all in place. I'm not patronised, and we're 'all on the joke together' as the author takes us through events that most have experienced in one way or another. The stories are American life but only a few chapters went over my head, it's a well-written book, and John Harnett is a funny guy with a talent for satire. ...more
This book came to me comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, so I'm expecting NOT to like it. The cover is Christian and in keeping with the theme of the bThis book came to me comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, so I'm expecting NOT to like it. The cover is Christian and in keeping with the theme of the book, but the title and author name is lack lustre. It doesn't stand out among the rest in its genre. The blurb was full of 'If you like a great story you will like The Return', which irked a bit. Basically, the story is good verses evil.
The 'look inside' opens to an investment banker called Geoff having a holiday in France with his friend Jacques, but on his last day he finds a secret room (bookcase swings round to reveal another room! Gosh, now that hasn't been done before!) and he finds a room full of books, and coincidently discovers a lost book called the Templar out of the many that's there and he's only been in there a few minutes!
Finding the Templer leads Geoff to places such as Jerusalem searching through old libraries, but unbeknown to him he is being followed. 'Friend' Jacques isn't a friend after all and there is a good build up to that as Geoff thinks he's being paranoid. Personally, I think the author favoured the research to the emotion of the characters, and even though the research of this book seemed thorough, the characters (with the exception to Geoff) weren't fleshed out enough.
Anyway, Sarah and Peter were supposed to fall in love, marry and have a baby (which they did) but their characters were cardboard. So much so that I was surprised that they were the real main characters when Geoff sadly died (it was at this point where I stopped reading).
There were a few errors that could and should have been spotted before it was published, with a huge blooper in chapter four where the author failed to name the chapter and use question marks instead.
All in all I found that the chapters were just waffle and I barely reached half way through the book. There was just too much scene building and back story for my liking. If you don't mind a slow build, then this book is for you. I've not read the De Vinci Code so can't compare. Some nice character building of Geoff, though, and detailed scene setting if you like that sort of thing.
Just not for me. De VInci Code readers might not agree though....more