DO NOT FOLLOW ME IF YOU'RE HERE TO ADVERTISE, ESPECIALLY NON-BOOK PRODUCTS. I WILL BLOCK YOU!!!
by Paul B. Skousen
Bassam Saga book 3.
Rasha, daughter of the great Abdali-ud-din leader, is kidnapped during the night by bandits seeking ransom. Her fiancé, Bassam, is as determined to get her back as her father. A caravan guide, Shamar, works out that the girl his clients have with them is a kidnap victim and makes a plan to rescue her.
This is a well written story with desert adventure and poetic prose when Bassam speaks of his love for Rasha and resolve to bring her home, though we don't see what he's actually doing about it for a while. Rasha is intelligent and resourceful. She's a strong personality and a likeable character, as is her rescuer.
Some of the missives from other people break up the narrative and slow it down. Personally, I would have preferred to keep the story on Rasha and Shamar or move between them and what was being done to find her.
The book stands alone well and I didn't feel the lack of background from not having read the previous books in the series. I rather liked the end, though it was sort of predictable. The notes after the story were also interesting as there was historical precedent for much of the story, which I had thought was just a Fantasy.
This was given to me as a joke present.I generally have no interest in political stories.
The thing is, I started reading it and it's actually pretty good! I'll be giving priority to Netgalley books until I finish them but I can see myself finishing this eventually.
So, just 5 books finished in December. No real stand-outs this time, though Once Upon a River and Tombland were reasonably good. All of these were Netgalley acquisitions. I have 4 more to finish, one of which is rather good. If I can manage not to request anymore new ones, I can get back to reading the books I already have!
My 2019 goals are to clear my samples and backlog of books. That includes all those accumulated free books. Either read or reject. This could be ambitious if many of them are worth reading!
And of course all those paperbacks on my shelves. I've run out of shelves and walls to add new ones! So, I'm going to try to keep at least one paperback going until I work through enough to make them fit at least. I just have to remember how it was last time I moved house.
Yes, some books get kept forever, but I do have a lot that I could read and pass on to the local charity bookstore. Drowning in unread books is getting too stressful!
by Diane Setterfield
During a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, an injured man with a dead child are brought in from the river. The local healer is brought in and somehow, the dead child comes back to life.
This story had a poetic quality to the prose in the beginning redolent of a classic fairytale, yet the plot is totally original. I have to admit I wasn't sure what was going on for most of it. Is the child supernatural? Several people want to claim her, thinking it's a daughter or sister they lost. Perhaps an orphan child they might adopt. Somehow her features seem to appear familiar to all of them and each wants to take responsibility for her.
Eventually, towards the end, all is revealed and things begin to make sense, apart from the part that really is supernatural. It's a mystery story that moves at a slow pace, reflecting the effects of a slow moving river on the community that lives within the flood plain of its banks.
The only fast action is towards the end. This is one for the patient reader, and for those who like to spend most of the book working out the answer to a puzzling situation.
by David Hair & Cath Mayo
First book in the Olympus Trilogy.
This is written in present tense. I can see why in the first chapter. It gives it an ethereal, mystical past feeling and as it follows some known mythology, it could have made a good start to the story if it hadn't carried on in present tense throughout.
As that's what it did, it reads rather slow. The story itself is interesting so I persevered, but by 18% it was becoming a real chore.
I'm not sure how closely it follows the actual mythology as I'm not that familiar with the Greek stories, but my impression is that it's pretty close. The plot and action are good and I liked the main character. My only problem is that it dragged terribly and could have been a really good read if it had been written properly in past tense. Why is this a thing? No Classics, NONE, are written totally in past tense!
The writing itself was very good. The authors are obviously able to write well. I just hope they progress from using present tense. Unfortunately I'll never know because once stung with this, I never go back to the author again.
This looks like it has a raptor on the cover and it is free for kindle right now.
Melody Hurst’s days as a Southern belle are over. Now she’s widowed and alone in the foothills of the Rockies, struggling to make a life in a dangerous world. She’s determined to secure a future by marrying – but love is out of the question.
Cole Baywood has turned bounty hunter after serving in the horrors of the Civil War, but the ghosts of the men and women he’s killed still haunt him. He’s drawn to the beautiful widow trying to seduce him, only the darkness in his soul forces him to reject her. Is it possible that Melody’s touch can heal the demons of his past? And how can he convince a woman who has lost so much to risk her heart?
Blue: When my ex walks into the resort bar with his new husband on his arm, I want nothing more than to prove to him that I’ve moved on. Thankfully, the sexy stranger sitting next to me is more than willing to share a few kisses in the name of revenge. It gets even better when those scorching kisses turn into a night of fiery passion.
The only problem? Turns out the stranger's brother is marrying my sister later this week.
Tristan: I have one rule: no messing with the guests at my vineyard resort. Of course the one exception I make turns out to be the brother of the woman my brother’s about to marry. Now we’re stuck together for a week of wedding activities, and there’s no avoiding the heat burning between us.
So fine, we make a deal: one week. One week to enjoy each other’s bodies and get it out of our system. Once the bride and groom say I do and we become family, it’ll all be over between us. Right?
by Peter Scottsdale
This is written for children, and as such some of the dialogue isn't quite realistic but more of a cleaned up version like you often see in children's books. The plot holds together reasonably well and the magical transition was very good.
There were some good messages about learning to respect the property of others and not bullying, however, I have an issue with a few other messages that come across.
First of all, the father is in total charge of the family and the mother doesn't argue when he threatens to get rid of the cat. This gives a bad impression of relationship dynamics as well as of a father's role. To me, he's totally evil and his wife should divorce him and keep the cat so her son will be happy!
My other issue is with calling the cat bad for jumping into the tree. Really? You bring a real tree into a home with a cat and expect him not to jump into it immediately? The author is a cat lover and owner so he should know better than that! Also, when the cat is destroying things he shouldn't or biting, why aren't the parents making any effort whatsoever to teach him parameters? Cats do learn, and not by whining at them that they shouldn't do that as if they understood every word. (Secretly I do believe they understand every word but that's another matter.)
All things considered, the story has some brilliant elements from a Christmas magic point of view, but I would not buy it for a child because of these unacceptable messages about fathers and cat discipline.
by C. J. Sansom
Book 7 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.
Set in the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, two years after the death of Henry VIII. The nominal king is eleven years old and his uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Edward's regent and Protector. Catholics and Protestants are at odds and the Lady Elizabeth has a personal interest in a murder of the wife of one of her distant relatives that she sends Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer in her service, to investigate.
Medieval intrigue and mystery mostly keep attention through over 800 pages that cover among other things, Kett's Rebellion in the Tombland area of historic Norwich. These are real places and the history has been well researched. I did, however, think it was overly long. The books in this series contain a lot of detail of every move and I think it was asking a bit much to carry on with so much scrutiny for so long.
On one hand it's a good Historical Fiction, but it's also a murder mystery. I'll admit I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries in general and making me wait so long to find out who did it was torment! It is well done in the end though.
Those who do enjoy murder mysteries will have a great time trying to sift through the plentiful suspects and possible motives, both political and personal. The author leads us through a merry chase through all the possibilities. I did think that the final reveal was a little forced and not quite realistic, but by then I was just glad to have answers.
Image stolen off Twitter.
I read this recently and thought I would give the author a signal boost. My review here http://loram.booklikes.com/post/1803345/force-of-chaos
Tis the season for 99c sales, falalalala,lalalala
Some wallflowers bloom at night…
Violet is a quiet girl. She speaks six languages, but seldom raises her voice. The gentlemen aren’t beating down her door.
Until the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas ball, when a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and collapses at Violet’s feet. He’s wet, chilled, bleeding, and speaking in an unfamiliar tongue.
Only Violet understands him. And she knows he’s not what he seems.
She has one night to draw forth the secrets of this dangerously handsome rogue. Is he a smuggler? A fugitive? An enemy spy? She needs answers by sunrise, but her captive would rather seduce than confess. To learn his secrets, Violet must reveal hers—and open herself to adventure, passion, and the unthinkable… Love.
Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She's the fuel for every song he's ever written-each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that he's turned into every inch the man she's always needed...
Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey...until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks—or rather storms—into Jasmine's life. Sarge's return shouldn't affect her this way. He's her best friend's much younger brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.
But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it...
by Jonathan Janz
Film composers Ben and Eddie along with a couple of their female friends go to stay a month in Castle Blackwood, which has been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. Eddie is trying to inspire Ben's creativity when his personal problems with an ex-wife and son are distracting him. However, a malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century in the castle and he’s ready to feed.
The first chapter was very well written and the personalities of Ben and Eddie were coming out strongly from the start. The one issue was that very different things were happening in the first few chapters so it took a while to get hold of a storyline without referring back to the description to remember what the story was supposed to be about, but a few chapters in, it all pulls together and we're off to the island.
It also got a little overblown on sex. Whenever an author's description of a woman includes "perky breasts" I get an impression of a creepy guy who objectifies women. Female authors just don't describe women that way, even if they prefer women themselves. I'm not a prude but I felt the sexual content was invasive rather than beneficial to the story.
The scares in this one didn't really deliver. The set-ups were there and could have been horrific, but the obsession with sexual dynamics distracted from any intensity and made the story drag. By the time I got to the end all I could feel was that I didn't like any of these characters. I know this author has written some good stuff but this one just fell flat for me.
9 books finished off, all of them Netgalley reads. Some of them were unfinished from Bingo.
I had some rock and roll between We Sold Our Souls and Daisy Jones and some decent Fantasy from Foundryside as well as a passable ghost story in Dark Voyage and even some Historical Fiction. A pretty decent month of variety.
I also started reading samples again. I'm thinking of devoting some time to clearing them again after I finish off my Netgalley obligations. Now if I can just stop requesting!
I have 8 books in progress, mostly Netgalley, and 3 more I haven't started. Hopefully I'll be close to clearing them by the end of December! Some of them are pretty far along so maybe.