Elizabeth of Lancaster is cousin to the King. It is her place to marry well and to make the right connections for her father, John of Gaunt. But Eliza...moreElizabeth of Lancaster is cousin to the King. It is her place to marry well and to make the right connections for her father, John of Gaunt. But Elizabeth is headstrong and spoilt and wants to make her own future so she marries the King's half brother, John Holland, instead. But when her brother Henry comes to claim the throne, Elizabeth must make a terrible choice. Which side of her family should she choose?
I have lived in Lancashire for the past 12 years so I felt an affinity with the Plantaganets and thought I would really enjoy a novel about their exploits. I might still do that, but I am afraid I didn't enjoy this one at all. ELizabeth, the character around whom the whole story revolves is a distinctly unpleasant and tedious character. She isn't a villain, with all the intrigue and interest which a character of that ilk can generate, she's just a thoughly self-centred and unpleasant individual.
Even more sadly, it's not as if any of the other characters in the novel are more pleasant or endearing. It might actually be that we don't get the chance to know them intimately enough since the book races through scenes with minute and pointless detail without fleshing out the characters in any way. I don't feel I know any of them any better than when I started it and sadly, I just don't want to. This was not a novel for me and I would be very surprised to find the audience it did appeal to. An idea of great promise, very poorly executed; I would not recommend this book at all.(less)
Faith's grandmother has left her a house. Faith has a stalker who is trying to kill her. The house seems to be a perfect place for Faith to escape fro...moreFaith's grandmother has left her a house. Faith has a stalker who is trying to kill her. The house seems to be a perfect place for Faith to escape from her old life. Sadly, it seems her stalker doesn't agree.
This is a very long novel (over 700 pages) and it wondered whether it would hold my interest. Fortunately the excellent cast of characters and thrilling storyline kept me wanting to know more and I was sorry when I finished it.
Faith Corcoran and the Novak family and are very well written and their back story emerges slowly as the book unfolds. I really warmed to the main cast of characters and I look forward to reading about them again in future novels.
I did think there were rather too many extras in the supporting cast, particularly for a novel of this length though, and I think some of them could perhaps have been saved for the future if the series is to continue as they did make for confusing reading in some places. I am also not keen on explicit sex scenes and there were some in this novel that I didn't really like at all.
Nevertheless, in summary I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it for fans of crime fiction as long as they don't mind some explicit scenes thrown in. Karen Rose is a new author to me but I enjoyed this novel a lot and would definitely seek out others by her in the future.(less)
Revelation Dyer is magic. She is a magician, along with her husband Jeremy, but she can do real magic too. Revelation is the latest in a long line of...moreRevelation Dyer is magic. She is a magician, along with her husband Jeremy, but she can do real magic too. Revelation is the latest in a long line of Revelation's with special powers - she can disappear. But her disappearing has made her noticeable and the person who has noticed Revelation is after her and her daughters. Can she keep her family safe?
The blurb on this book compares it to "The Night Circus" which is one of the most hautingly beautful books I have ever read. In the sense that this is about "magic", I guess they are comparable. In every other way there is no comparison whatsoever.
I have written a synopsis of the book in four lines above. To be honest, it is more a description of the entire book than a synopsis. I love the idea of a magical family and the girls having talents and the interesting people they meet. I am afraid though, the lack of action just made this one far too long and pedestrian for me; I got to the stage where nothing had happened for about half the book and I stopped being all that interested in the outcome.
Much as I really wanted to like it, I didn't. It appears from the author notes at the end that there are more books in the pipeline and I would read those because I think the characters here have promise. I hope in the next book they live up to it! (less)
Mma Makutsi, back from maternity leave and now promoted to business partner in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency has decided to branch out and buy a r...moreMma Makutsi, back from maternity leave and now promoted to business partner in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency has decided to branch out and buy a restaurant; the eponymous "Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe". Meanwhile, Mr JLB Matekoni has a dilemma about Charlie and Mma Ramotswe must help an Indian lady who does not know her own name. Business as usual for the No.1 Ladies and their various friends and relations.
I absolutely love Alexander McCall Smith's novels, and the Precious Ramotswe series is my favourite. It is so hard to explain what happens in them because in actuality, nothing much really does, and that is their charm. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi don't really do anything different from anyone else's everyday life, but because of that they (or Mr McCall Smith) know so much about how people behave that they are able to solve any problem just by being kind to people and talking to them. I like how Charlie is now playing a bigger part in the novels as he has always been such a fun character and it is great to see him developed.
Once again, nothing out of the ordinary happens in this instalment but I enjoyed it just as much as all the others. If only everyone behaved like Mma Ramotswe, the world would be such a lovely place.(less)
The last of the remaining houses in the old Nottinghamshire mining town of Bledwell Vale are at last being demolished, thirty years after the miner's...moreThe last of the remaining houses in the old Nottinghamshire mining town of Bledwell Vale are at last being demolished, thirty years after the miner's strike ended. In one of the gardens a JCB unearths a skeleton. Charlie Resnick worked intelligence on the strike thirty years ago and thinks he knows who it is but he's a civilian investigator now and assigned to a different case. Luckily DI Catherine Njoroge needs help and she knows Charlie. Now they and their small team need to try and find out who killed Jenny Hardwick. They might not like what they find.
I have never read a Charlie Resnick novel before, but I lived in Nottinghamshire in the 1990s and worked in Sutton-in-Ashfield, so I know what the collapse of the pits did to the local area. It appears to me that John Harvey captures that feeling of despair and desolation perfectly; an era when families were pitted against each other and everyone was just doing all they could to survive. Resnick is a character who would fit well into that scenario and he, as well as the other cast of characters in the book, are brought to life by evocative descriptions of where they are as well as how they are behaving.
I did wonder whether the novel might be a bit depressing and I suppose it was really, but only as depressing as the story called for and not an iota more. I am very glad that John Harvey decided not to kill Resnick off at the end because I think that would have been a gloomy scenario too far, and I think what actually did happen was far more fitting for the type of book this is.
All in all, I did really enjoy reading this novel and I will now definitely go back to the beginning to see where Charlie Resnick came from. I have happily read this last one first though and have not been disadvantaged so I am sure they can be read as stand-alones if necessary.(less)
Robert Bassingham has a family and a good cloth business. Catlin is a widow with a young daughter and adult son. Catlin comes to Robert for investment...moreRobert Bassingham has a family and a good cloth business. Catlin is a widow with a young daughter and adult son. Catlin comes to Robert for investment advice and soon her gentle nature makes her an indispensible friend. When Robert's wife becomes ill, Catlin is there to tend to her. When she dies, Catlin is there as solace. But when Catlin and Leonia, her daughter, move in, everything in Robert's life changes and nothing is as it seems. Has Robert made a terrifying mistake?
I must admit to already being an enormous fan of Karen Maitland's delicious medieval witchcraft stories. Her characters are always very believable and even though they are often involved, as here, in sorcery and other magical goings on, these are always just on the edge of being fantastic and quite often leave one wondering how much the lines of truth and fantasy can be blurred, particularly at that in history when scientific explanations for things were less obvious and less available. Having expected to enjoy the novel, it is sometimes disappointing when it does not live up to expectations. I am very pleased to say that this one does so in spades.
If there is one negative aspect to the book, I didn't really see why the story about the peasant's revolt was relevant really. It appeared to me that the novel would have hung together nicely with no necessity for the boatmen characters. It was a fairly long novel and it almost did seem like two separate stories which only came together, fleetingly and to not much apparent purpose at the end. That said, I suppose I might well have been disappointed if the novel was shorter since I enjoyed reading it very much and did not want it to end.
If you are a fan of medieval mystery, you certainly can't go wrong with Karen Maitland and I highly recommend "The Vanishing Witch".(less)
This novel says it is based on a real-life event in Trinidad, Colorado where women and children were brutally massacred but I must say that the event...moreThis novel says it is based on a real-life event in Trinidad, Colorado where women and children were brutally massacred but I must say that the event itself is in no way integral to the story and is almost mentioned in passing. I wish I had known that myself as it is the reason I picked the book and I didn't really feel it was a true representation of the novel itself.
In any case, the story is about two women involved in the miner's dispute between the unions and the company in America in 1913. One of the women, Inez, is from the rich side of town and the other, Dora, is a prostitute and the two strike up a close friendship after witnessing the murder of one of the union men in the street, leading to Inez becoming embroiled in the political machinations of the situation and culminating in a terrible tragedy.
I think the novel is well written and easy to read. I really warmed to the characters of Dora, Inez and Xavier and I think I would have enjoyed it much more if I wasn't anticipating the "event" to be much more than it was. Sold strictly as a novel, this is a story of friendship and pulling together in hard times; sold as based on historical fact, it is much less clear cut.
In any rate, I have given it 3 stars as I enjoyed the characters but I would have given it more had the back story been stronger.(less)
Diana Bishop and Matthew de Clairmont are back from the past with a lot more knowledge about themselves and the missing pages from "The Book of Life....moreDiana Bishop and Matthew de Clairmont are back from the past with a lot more knowledge about themselves and the missing pages from "The Book of Life. But Diana is pregnant with twins and Matthew's rogue son Benjamin has found out that Weavers can get pregnant by vampires so Diana and Matthew must separate to find Benjamin and put "The Book of Life" back together before it's too late. The trouble is, not everyone wants them to succeed.
It is some time since the publication of "Shadows of Night" and so when I came to reading this book I had forgotten a lot of what had gone on. Although "The Book of Life" does allude to the happenings in "Shadows of Life" quite a lot, you definitely could not read it as a standalone and in fact, if I had plenty of time I would have re-read the previous two novels before this one.
It is a fact that almost all the characters from the previous books do turn up in this one and at times it does get quite confusing. Nevertheless, the central story of Matthew and Diana's relationship is still the strongest part of the novel and this is the part which drew me in every time and made me want to read more. I do really like these characters and I really enjoyed the way that the beautiful settings were described without detracting at all from the action. It was all very neatly explained at the end and I did come away feeling very satisfied so I would definitely recommend this book, but only if you have read the previous ones first.(less)
Conrad Greene has been living alone with his dog, Rocky, in the South American jungle. He doesn't want to be part of the immortal society since his so...moreConrad Greene has been living alone with his dog, Rocky, in the South American jungle. He doesn't want to be part of the immortal society since his soulmate, Laura, told him she wanted nothing more to do with him. Then a plane crashes into his house and he suddenly has no choice - without him there will be war on a grand scale.
This is the third of A.D. Starrling's "Seventeen" books and once again it is a breakneck read, full of action and adventure and perfect to lose oneself in after a long day. When Starrling switched characters for the second "Seventeen" novel, I was not sure if that would work for me, but now that I am used to it, I like meeting new immortals and finding out their powers and this book explains much more about how that will continue (hopefully). You can read these novels as stand-alones, but I think it would be more enjoyable to read them in order.
Conrad is an endearing and very "human" character with very recognisable traits. The way that he reacts to what is happening around him is very believeable and, once again from Starrling, makes me want him and his friends to achieve their goal without being over sentimental.
I think this has been a great series which I have really enjoyed reading, and I am very much looking forward to reading more in the future. (less)