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Profile for Kate Cudahy > Reviews

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Kate Cudahy

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Starting Over
Starting Over
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, romantic and beautifully written, 2 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Starting Over (Kindle Edition)
First off, I want to say that I really enjoyed this book. I read it in a matter of days, which is quite unusual for me - I'm a slow reader - and I couldn't wait to find out if heartbroken potter Ellie would manage to repair her relationship with her philandering lover, Robin. Not only that, but the mystery of who was buried beneath the fields at Starling Hill really kept me on the edge of my chair.

Having said that, I did have one or two quibbles with what is fundamentally a great read. My first point in this respect would be that we find out a lot about the history behind Ellie and Robin's relationship in the first part of the novel, but this is relayed through a series of slightly clunky narrative passages. I would have preferred it if that back story had been more subtly integrated, perhaps revealed through dialogue or detail.

The other issue I had was that, for a relationship spanning almost twenty years, my first impression was that the main characters didn't seem too invested in each other. At one point, for example, Robin reflects: "Ellie was extremely attractive and offered more than enough to satisfy her libido." Surely after two decades of a relationship, Robin would think more of her partner than as a mere salve for her sexual appetite - which is, it has to be said, in Robin's case voracious. However, the more I read of this couple, the more I felt I got to know them, and understood something of the tensions and desires which motivated their actions.

Jen Silver introduces an array of colourful characters - some gay, some straight - and then sets them off on a series of romantic trajectories, often resulting in messy head long crashes, angst and trauma. There are so many different personal histories going on here, and all of them played out against the backdrop of a genuine historical mystery: who lies buried beneath Ellie's farm? And how will the archaeological dig, supervised by her former lover Kathryn, affect her life, her relationship with her family home and her own feelings about the past?

It was also great to read about a group of women who don't really grow old with too much grace. Ellie is in her fifties, and stressed about aging, having just survived a mid life crisis. However, she is definitely a woman who knows her own mind, who enjoys sex and has, it turns out, played the field a bit herself. In fact, the same can be said for her lover of old, Kathryn, and even for Robin who might behave like a hormonal adolescent, but has turned forty. OK, at times the characters in Starting Out come across as somewhat juvenile with their inability to make steady commitments or settle down. But on the other hand there was a very encouraging subtext to this story: life sure don't stop at fifty.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I really enjoyed this book, and despite the caveats previously mentioned it's a read that'll warm the cockles of your heart. It's funny, romantic, beautifully written, and the story stays with you long after you've finished it.


Club Storyville
Club Storyville
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 18 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Club Storyville (Kindle Edition)
I recently came to the conclusion that we must be living through a golden age of lesbian literature, and it's books like Riley LaShea's Club Storyville that convince me this is the case. It's a novel which tackles issues of sexuality and race head on, and which claims the reader's attention from beginning to end. Above all, it's a beautifully exercised and compassionate narration of the sacrifices people are prepared to make in order to live and love freely.
I knew I was in for the long haul from the opening pages. There is something about Riley LaShea's style of writing which is both compelling and absorbing. I felt immediately drawn into 1940s America, and in particular to a south traumatised by the effects of the war, divided along racial lines by Jim Crow legislation, a society desperate to maintain appearances while tensions brew beneath its surface. Above all, I absolutely loved the way LaShea skilfully meshes her tale of forbidden love between two young women into this complex, historical background.
Club Storyville is quite simply a wonderful novel which works on so many levels - as a tale of self-discovery, as a skilfully-realised piece of historical fiction, and as a romantic love story. It's a book which forces you to think about just how much people were prepared to risk in order to be with the person they love. In that respect, I'd say it's a very important book, and I highly recommend it.


Sirensbane (Kal Moonheart Series Book 3)
Sirensbane (Kal Moonheart Series Book 3)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected twists, uncompromising heroics and Bond style villainry, 28 April 2015
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Unexpected twists, uncompromising heroics and Bond style villainry – the third of Rob May’s ‘Kal Moonheart’ series delivers on all counts.

This time, Kal finds herself on the high seas, accompanied by smuggler friend – and eventual lover – Lula Pearl. Lula’s fellow islanders have been transformed into zombies, apparently as the result of a dark magic or curse. But Kal soon discovers that all is not what it seems when she encounters the sinister ‘Magician’, and begins to unravel his evil plans.

What I love about these books is the way they take fantasy fiction and do something completely new with the genre. Where ‘Roll the Bones’ blended fantasy with political thriller, Sirensbane is packed with adventure, swashbuckling antics, and even a hint of sci-fi. There’s consistency in the way that this story links with the previous ones, ensuring that the reader feels they recognise Kal’s world immediately. At the same time, Sirensbane is packed with new characters and, through the use of flashbacks we learn more about both Kal and Lula’s past which sheds light on the two women and the reasons for their – sometimes – selfish behaviour.

I would strongly recommend Sirensbane to anyone who enjoys well-crafted fantasy or simply stories with a strong lead female role. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!


Kal Moonheart Trilogy: Dragon Killer, Roll the Bones & Sirensbane
Kal Moonheart Trilogy: Dragon Killer, Roll the Bones & Sirensbane
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy series in the making, 1 April 2015
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I've finished the first two in this trilogy - Dragon Killer and Roll the Bones and am currently reading the final part, Sirensbane, although I'm well aware that the author has many more Kal Moonheart tales up his sleeve.
This is fantasy writing that really takes the genre to its limits, fusing Dan Brown style twists and surprises with superlative world building, a charismatic heroine and pacing which keeps the reader on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
Dragon Killer introduces Kal and her rakish patron, senator Ben Godsword. Through a cleverly intertwined set of narratives, the story reveals Kal's troubled past while at the same time following her current adventure on the trail of a villain whose evil machinations threatens to hold the city of Amaranthium itself to ransom.
In the second part of the series, Roll the Bones, Kal Moonheart is pitted against a set of dangerous, devious enemies in a story which blurs the boundaries between fantasy and thriller.
This is complex story-telling set at a breath-taking pace with a cliff-hanger at the end of almost every chapter as Kal single-handedly takes on a dangerous, devious and highly corrupt set of villains. The multi-layered plot succeeds in bringing together romance, adventure, Bond-style gadgetry, political intrigue and of course dragons!
I'm currently enjoying the third part, Sirensbane and hope to post a review soon. Highly recommended.


Girl Under the Gun: Episode 1
Girl Under the Gun: Episode 1
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Adrenalin Driven Adventure, 16 Sept. 2014
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This story marks the first in a series of adventures for naïve young undergraduate, Lucy Jane Hardwick (LJ). It also seems to mark something of a departure for the author, Rob May, who has so far focussed his attention on science fiction and fantasy.
It's a book which really slams its reader ─ and of course its heroine ─ into the deep end with a vengeance. LJ finds herself whisked away from the trappings of everyday student life ─ pizza and procrastination ─ and into a world of danger, adventure, and international espionage. And that's all within the first two pages!

I think it is probably the relentless pacing of this book which gives it such force. Page long chapters might not be to everyone's taste, but in this case the author succeeds in squeezing uncompromising action scenes, snappy dialogue and cliff-hangers into every one. LJ makes a suitably endearing if at times irritatingly smug main character, and the author injects an entertaining mix of friction and chemistry into the relationship that develops between her and self-proclaimed guardian and all round super spy, Grant.

This is a story narrated with genuine wit and verve, and as the first in a projected series, it definitely made me want to carry on reading.


The Call of the Crown: Part 1 - The Dragon Oracles (The Eastern Kingdom Chronicles # 1.1)
The Call of the Crown: Part 1 - The Dragon Oracles (The Eastern Kingdom Chronicles # 1.1)
Price: £1.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well-crafted, compelling fantasy, 21 Jan. 2014
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In this, the first of the Dragon Oracles Series, T J Garrett has aimed at combining the ingredients of traditional fantasy with a down to earth, compelling prose style. The effect is impressive, and as a reader I felt immediately sucked into a finely crafted fantasy world.
Garrett has succeeded in delivering a powerful story, replete with suspense and mystery, in which his protagonists find themselves tested to their limits as they are forced to embark on an unexpected journey across an unforgiving landscape.
I can only say that for lovers of well-written sword and sorcery style fantasy fiction, this book is a must.


Roll the Bones (Kal Moonheart Series Book 2)
Roll the Bones (Kal Moonheart Series Book 2)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy that packs a punch, 15 Jan. 2014
In this latest addition to the 'Dragon Killer' Series, Kal Moonheart is pitted against a set of dangerous, devious enemies in a story which blurs the boundaries between fantasy and thriller.

This is complex story-telling set at a breath-taking place with a cliff-hanger at the end of almost every chapter. Kal Moonheart is a fearless and charismatic main character who single-handedly takes on a dangerous, devious and highly corrupt set of villains. The multi-layered plot succeeds in bringing together romance, adventure, Bond-style gadgetry, political intrigue and of course dragons!

It's refreshing to know that there are writers out there who are still prepared to take risks and resist tired and overused formulas. What more can I say? Read it!


Dragon Killer (Kal Moonheart Book 1)
Dragon Killer (Kal Moonheart Book 1)
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High calibre fantasy, 13 May 2013
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Have just finished reading Rob May's story Dragon Killer - a truly high-calibre work of fantasy fiction. The timing and plotting is exquisite, it's fast-paced, elegantly written, great characters and a story which constantly leaves you wanting more!


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