There were two things I liked about this book: the beginning of the story is set in Sydney and most of the rest is set in Ancient Rome. There’s potentThere were two things I liked about this book: the beginning of the story is set in Sydney and most of the rest is set in Ancient Rome. There’s potential in this series, but I’m used to a lot tighter plotting and faster paced novels. Gladiatrix didn’t always hold my attention.
For a while this book was tolerable. But Tammy soon reveals herself to be a dishrag of the highest order. Even though she agrees to a casual relationsFor a while this book was tolerable. But Tammy soon reveals herself to be a dishrag of the highest order. Even though she agrees to a casual relationship, it only takes a few pages for Tammy to start wanting more. Shortcut to angst. Gah. Then she gets pregnant by accident--or stupidity. (I'm not sure which because I never got that far.)
But the biggest WTF moment for me was when an Australian character says, ‘we’re all rooting for you.’ If you can get past page 100, you’ve done better than I have.
Blue Noise is easy to read, and the protagonists are likeable and easy to relate to. Oswald’s style doesn’t offer any surprises, and I found some partBlue Noise is easy to read, and the protagonists are likeable and easy to relate to. Oswald’s style doesn’t offer any surprises, and I found some parts awkward and infodumpish, but it does have its own charm. There’s a sweet honesty in the idea of teenagers who aren’t rebels, but who display courage in their own, non-earth-shattering ways.
Also interesting is the way Oswald delves into both Ash’s and Erin’s points of view. There’s something here for both male and female readers, including an opportunity to discover that perhaps teenage boys and girls have similar anxieties about themselves and how they’re perceived by others.
I’m not the target audience for this book, but I can see its appeal. Blue Noise isn’t the most sophisticated young adult novel I’ve read, but it has an accessible style and uplifting message that may well suit young teens or older reluctant readers.
If there’s one thing Red Dust does well, it’s capturing the beauty and roughness of outback Australia.
The premise is interesting, it’s set up well inIf there’s one thing Red Dust does well, it’s capturing the beauty and roughness of outback Australia.
The premise is interesting, it’s set up well in the beginning, and the procedural aspects seemed plausible. I love to read about how crime is investigated in the outback, and it’s particularly interesting in Red Dust because Billbinya is so huge -- no CSI-esque toenails-in-the-bathroom-rugclues here! Despite this, McDonald struggles to sustain the mystery throughout the book. There are too many hints along the way that a reader with some familiarity with crime fiction can easily decipher.
The romance is underdeveloped. Although I felt the sparks between Gemma and her love interest, McDonald doesn’t really show how their feelings progress, and how they come to be significant in each other’s lives. To be fair, the book is marketed as popular fiction, so perhaps my expectations around the love story was higher than it should’ve been.
Although there may not be enough romance or mystery to sustain genre readers, I’d recommend Red Dust for its faithfulness to the outback setting, seen through the eyes of a strong, pragmatic protagonist. I’m a city girl through and through, but I felt the heat and the grit and the roughness and, yes, the romance of the land as I read this book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how McDonald’s style develops in future books.
I really, really wanted to like this book. The Family Farm’s blurb shows promise, but a slow plot and lacklustre romance make for a rather dull read.
II really, really wanted to like this book. The Family Farm’s blurb shows promise, but a slow plot and lacklustre romance make for a rather dull read.
I’m not sure what to say about this book, except that I was just so bored by the story and the characters. I think it’s partly Fiona Palmer’s writing style, which is a little more traditional than I prefer. If you like authors such as Anna Jacobs, this novel may certainly work for you; unfortunately, I don’t.
There’s something to Palmer’s story that could have turned out to be a great book, but I felt that lots of elements--character, plot, setting, dialogue--just didn’t come together tightly enough. There’s a lot of faff that don’t really go anywhere. I was disappointed by the romance, and the description of outback life left me underwhelmed.
Archangel’s Consort continues the story of Elena, former Guild Hunter and newly made angel, and her lover Raphael, the archangel of New York. As the tArchangel’s Consort continues the story of Elena, former Guild Hunter and newly made angel, and her lover Raphael, the archangel of New York. As the title suggests, the story’s emotional arc explores the way in which Elena and Raphael negotiate their relationship—her desire for independence despite her limitations, his determination to protect her, and their struggle to balance the vulnerability of humanity against the power of immortality.
Many of the power struggles between Elena and Raphael are intense and deeply romantic. They spend a lot of time in the bedroom—perhaps a little too much. Though it pains me to admit it, at a certain point the scenes between Elena and Raphael begin to feel repetitive—there just isn’t enough conflict between them. As a result, the external plot, though intriguing, lacks room to properly and subtly develop, especially with all the minor characters who come into play.
Nevertheless, this book is a solid instalment in the series.
Mayberry’s writing is always up to par, but I had a problem with the love triangle in the story. I was left feeling like Amy deserved more than to beMayberry’s writing is always up to par, but I had a problem with the love triangle in the story. I was left feeling like Amy deserved more than to be the second choice, even if she ultimately proves to be a better match for Quinn.
The fact that I’m a sucker for friends to lovers probably kept my interest longer than this book should have. UnfortunateFull review at Book Thingo.
The fact that I’m a sucker for friends to lovers probably kept my interest longer than this book should have. Unfortunately, it just didn’t have enough emotional depth for me to care much about the characters.
The characters have a genuine sweetness about them—and sometimes it works to the story’s detriment. The conflicts are flimsy and the characters don’t have to put very much on the line.
As an erotic romance, the sex is explicit but not acrobatic. In fact, it breaks the number one rule* for erotic romance because there’s no buttsecks to be found. For that alone, I’m glad I picked this book up. Yet in the absence of any real emotional resonance, the sex scenes at times felt disconnected from the story. A tighter plot and a clearer sense of what’s at stake for the characters would have made all the difference.
De Pierres sets the story up beautifully, taking the reader on the same journey as the bewildered Retra, for whom Ixion rFull review at Book Thingo.
De Pierres sets the story up beautifully, taking the reader on the same journey as the bewildered Retra, for whom Ixion requires a complete reassessment of everything she knows (or has been taught) thus far. But as the story progresses, De Pierres falls into the common trap of keeping details thin in order to maintain various mysteries of the world she’s creating. Retra’s naiveté also becomes irritating after a while, and it’s difficult to believe that she could survive for so long with so little knowledge.
What keeps the story interesting are the relationships that Retra develops. Her immediate circle is gradually filled with a mix of characters whose motivations are not always clear. De Pierres plays them against each other to good effect.
There’s something a little uncomfortable about the heightened sexuality that dominates much of the backdrop for this book. At the beginning of the story it emphasises Retra’s fear and isolation, but as the story progresses, the sexual imagery begins to feel almost forced. It’s also a tease because none of the scenes ever really become graphic. It’s all a bit of an anticlimax. (Heh.) So I’m categorising this as young adult fiction, but I get the feeling, from the language and the avoidance of anything too explicit, that it’s aimed at a younger audience.
Although the story can be lyrical, sensual and fascinating, the plot is disjointed and the world building vague. That said, I’m tempted to read the next book, just to see how everyone turns out.
A review copy of this book was generously provided by Random House Australia....more
It’s hard to place this book. It has a chick-lit feel and is told from the first person, but the romance features heavily iFull review at Book Thingo.
It’s hard to place this book. It has a chick-lit feel and is told from the first person, but the romance features heavily in the second half of the book. Higgins plays for laughs, but never really at the expense of her protagonist. Behind Callie’s insecurities and problems is a fairly confident, successful woman with a clear sense of who she is, surrounded by people who love her.
Ian is a little more difficult to empathise with. Romance genre purists might find Ian too inscrutable and inaccessible as a romantic hero—this isn’t helped by Higgins’s choice of POV.
The last part of the book could have used a lighter hand. Too many misunderstandings, including a conveniently compromising situation, undermine an otherwise well-balanced story. Friction between Callie and Ian’s stepmother is introduced late, providing conflict between Ian and Callie which doesn’t feel properly resolved.
Still, what lingers in my mind after reading this book is Callie’s charm. Although Higgins starts off overdoing the wisecracks, once she settles into Callie’s voice the story becomes a gentle look at the many, often small ways that love in its various guises can blind, hurt, comfort and heal us.
A review copy of this book was generously provided by Mills and Boon Australia....more