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Wendy McFarlane (Aviemore)

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The Midnight Rose
The Midnight Rose
by Lucinda Riley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Would give this more stars if I could!, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: The Midnight Rose (Paperback)
Oh if you don't read any other book this year, please read this! I love this author's novels but with this she has surpassed herself. It incorporates every element required for an escapist read; a sinister setting on the bleak moors of Dartmoor, mad realatives in the attic, an involving mystery spanning generations of the Astbury family, Hollywood glamour, a whirl through the exotic Palaces of India, the horrors of the Great War and so much more but I wouldn't want to spoil it for you so I'll end it there! Others have described it well so not wanting to repeat their excellent synopsis' it leaves me to just mention how this author has grown and developed since the release of her first novel, Hothouse Flower to become one of the best writers around. Her descriptive passages, sense of place and delightful exploration of her characters leave you breathless. This story is an assault on the senses making the reader see, feel, and smell the sights and sounds from the days of the Raj. The alternative therapy content was fascinating as it's something I am so interested in so that was a bonus too. Never was there one episode of page skimming which is quite an achievement when composing a book of this length; almost 700 pages. Oh I could have gone on reading this had it been a thousand pages long! It is my favorite of Ms Riley's to date for me and I am so looking forward to whatever she produces next. She cannot put a foot wrong at the moment. An amazing story, something to lose yourself in and with a tragically moving and most surprising ending(even though you think you have it worked out!) I cannot recommend this highly enough!


The Book of Killowen (Maguire)
The Book of Killowen (Maguire)
by Erin Hart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.51

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read., 30 Mar 2014
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AD 877, Eoghan, a simple orphan with (we take it to be) Turrettes Syndrome is an outcast in his village. Sent to work with the Monks when the community declare "he has the devil in him!" he soon becomes adept at scribing the ancient manuscripts. The elderly monk who takes him under his wing is set upon one day, killed then thrown into an Irish peat bog, leaving Eoghan alone but still clasping his Psalter which he and the monk have spent years working on. Present day, Nora and Cormak become involved when a body is discovered in a peat bog in Tipperary, thought to be from ancient times. Once the Garda arrive they soon find another, buried alongside, both stuffed into a sunken carboot only to find the second body belongs to the well known TV personality, Benedict Kavanagh. Nora and Cormak stay at the local artists retreat while their investigations continue, quickly realising the guests are hiding many secrets and some are not quite what they seem. I love this series of books by this author. This can be read as a stand alone but I feel if you start from the first in the series you will find the relationships between the characters much more fullfilling. This is a great read; detailed, captivating and a really good mystery to cosy up with. Highly recommended.


The Reluctant Detective (A Faith Morgan Mystery)
The Reluctant Detective (A Faith Morgan Mystery)
by Martha Ockley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting., 25 Mar 2014
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This is a first with this author for me so I didn't quite know what to expect. I really liked it and found it to be a quick and easy read; something light for a rainy day. I won't describe the story as others already have but will just add I will be looking for the second in the series and if you too enjoy a quick, light detective novel with interesting likeable characters, you will like this too.


The Rose Labyrinth
The Rose Labyrinth
by Titania Hardie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.16

2.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read., 25 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Rose Labyrinth (Paperback)
For once I am in agreement with the other reviewers; this is a hard book to slog through. On the surface it seems to be a good idea and promises a challenging read. It was indeed challenging but for all the wrong reasons! Oh my Ms Hardie seems to have swallowed half the reference library then tried to reproduce bits in the form of a very long and tedious novel. No understandable dialogue, certainly not one which ordinary folk would have at the kitchen table over their cornflakes, least not in my house! Her "ordinary" characters suddenly become world experts on all things relating to the occult, theology, magic,, literature, Greek history and indeed anything at all which make them sound academic. If I suddenly spouted out any of this at our breakfast table my family would choke on their cereal. She has attempted to be too clever, too academic and by doing that has produced a ridiculous amount of unbelievable dialogue along the way. It's such a shame really as with a more experienced author(this is her debut) I am sure a grand story could have been produced and you have to pity her a little too as if it were my first novel I would expect my editors, proof readers and publishers to be more supportive and helpfull with their expert advise so I feel she has been let down too. I can only say I have read her second, The House of the Wind and was blown away by it( no pun intended!) The writing there is more polished, good believable dialogue between the characters and an altogether more professional piece of work. So for that reason I don't feel she should receive too much critisism as with novel number two she has improved and brought so much more to a really good story.


The House of the Wind
The House of the Wind
by Titania Hardie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.73

5.0 out of 5 stars A very accomplished novel., 22 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The House of the Wind (Paperback)
I have been "lost" in this book for days! What an amazing piece of writing by this author who is new to me. I found this quite by accident and began to read while waiting for an Amazon delivery. I then found I couldn't do much else for days! It sweeps the reader away through history with the most sensory writing, wonderful sense of place and both stories, past and present held my interest throughout which sometimes is not the case with duel time spans. It conjurs up all sorts of questions as you reach further into this tale and although some of the content is quite hard hitting at times I felt this author mixed that with her beautiful prose so well she deserves far more than five stars for this. It incorporated all my favorite things and I have to admit to now wanting to go to see this magical place for myself! What a wondeful novel to lose yourself in and I am now off to read The Rose Labyrinth, her debut novel which I sourced here on Amazon. Highly recommended.


Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7)
Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7)
by Kerry Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure..., 20 Mar 2014
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As this is the first Jessica Daniel novel for me I have to say I found it a little tedious. The main character of Jessica didn't grab my attention at all and the plot was quite slow and predicatable. I also found it a bit gruesome as if thre author just wanted to shock the reader; I like my murders a little more on the light side however saying that it was very atmospheric; the thought of entering that basement room filled me with dread! It's probably unfair to condem this series not having read the previous books but as a one off read I am afraid I didn't feel I wanted to seek out her previous novels at all. Maybe if I see one in the charity shop I might give it a go.


The Silver Dark Sea
The Silver Dark Sea
by Susan Fletcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.20

5.0 out of 5 stars A moving tale., 8 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Silver Dark Sea (Paperback)
It's difficult to know where to start with this as if you are not familiar with this author's work, you might read a few pages then set it aside as it takes quite a commitment to absorb her style. Having said that, for me she is becoming a much loved author; her Witchlight was a favorite two years ago. Its a dreamy kind of read, mythical and lyrical with virtualy no prose except in thought form. A stranger is washed up on the Island of Parva, a remote Scottish island above the hebrides where it's inhabitants are living a secluded existance among a small, extreemly close set of neighbours. Four years past, one of their own went missing at sea and this story tells of their thoughts and feelings when they find this man and how they interpret his discovery. They live in a sheltered land almost centuries back with little input from the outside world and their beliefs are strong, steeped in mythical stories of the fishman who comes from the sea bringing tragedy or maybe hope; they are never quite sure. Oh this is so moving. Once you start to read it's difficult to do much else but it is quite a tricky novel if you are not familiar with her prose. I absolutely loved it and felt quite sad when it ended, not because of how the story unfolds but because you feel as if you are living somewhere else for a time, so strong is her sense of place and it is true escapisim, soulful and lyrical. Definitely one to read and keep and think about.


Island of Wings
Island of Wings
by Karin Altenberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story., 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Island of Wings (Paperback)
How lovely this book is. I have a real interest in the Islands and reading this brought to life some wonderful descriptions of the landscape on the outer hebrides and told of a life of hardships, struggles and extreemes in the daily lives of the inhabitants. The story is fictional but closley linked to an actual account from the minister and his wife who go there to try to bring awarness of Christianity. Highly recommended.


The Winter Folly
The Winter Folly
by Lulu Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read., 5 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Winter Folly (Paperback)
I am new to this author who I believe usually sets her novels around the beautiful people and their society lives; something which doesn't interest me at all but as this was a gift, I thought I would give it a try. Oh how glad I am because I have just been lost in the book for three days. It has been well reviewed by others so not wanting to repeat their accounts I must just add how terrific this was. I loved the split time frame stories but not often around this particular era, favouring the earlier time spans but this was so well written, very moving and totally absorbing I felt I had to write a review. I was captivated by the setting, drawn into the story almost immediately and was so sad when I reached the end so now am at a loss as to what to read next. This is a beautiful story, very well told and I would highly recommend it even if you just wish for a little escapisim, fabulous!


The Firebird
The Firebird
by Susanna Kearsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.86

4.0 out of 5 stars A well researched historical novel., 2 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Firebird (Paperback)
Having read most of the reviews, something I don't usually do before posting mine I have to disagree with the majority of the "verdicts". This novel follows on from Winter Sea; the character of Anna, Sophia McClelland's daughter and Rob from Shadowy horses. Winter sea is my most favorite of Susanna's novels; a sweeping historical tale set on the stark East coast of Scotland. To then have access to the ongoing story following the life of young Anna was a rare treat and I loved this book. It was refreshing to see it set in Russia rather than somewhere else in Scotland and Ms Kearsley has obviously gone to great lengths with her research for this. I do agree slightly with the main character of Nicola set in the present day being a little faded in that she came across as insipid to me, not really a well rounded soul and a bit emotionless considering her claims to be adept in psychometry. I don't agree that this was this author's worst novel to date, nor boring or tedious or far fetched in any way. Part of the thrill of reading a book by this author is to escape into the worlds she creates and those worlds do stretch the readers imagination with time travel and forages into past lives, a recurring theme for all her novels. Taken at face value of course they are ridiculous but they are stories, tales from her imagination and for that reason alone I think she deserves much credit. We of course can't always enjoy the same books, what would be the point of endless authors churning out tomes every day of the week but we should appreciate talent and skill when we come across it. I for one found this a wonderful read. Yes I could have shaken Nicola at times during the story but to meet again characters from Slains Castle at the time of the Jacobite risings and beyond was amazing and I loved every page I read. I also have to ask some readers who claimed to be "fed up" with the endless Scottish dialect, what language should this author have written in to portray these Scottish born characters? They were speaking in their native tongue, something which I found highly satisfying as it helps to set the sense of place even more. I loved this. Not as much as Winter Sea, that remains my favorite but it is well worth a read if you enjoy this author's novels and I look forward to her next release which hopefully won't be too long in coming.


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