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A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair)
A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair)
by Emma Jane Holloway
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Excessively long book sucks life from characters & plot, 16 April 2014
Two hundred pages into this novel and I realised I had still got basically no where. And by the page count I still had three hundred and fifty pages to go. The experience of reading this book I could only equate with treading water. This novel lacked pacing, excitement and tension... whenever I saw a glimmer of hope the book would suddenly switch to another character's narrative or Evelina for the twentieth time would start waffling, sitting around thinking or doing the exact opposite of anything proactive (like actually do some detective work).
The jumping from character to character narrative was bad enough but then the author started to fiddle with the time line. At one point we are with Evelina discovering a corpse late in the evening. Next chapter, different character - earlier in the evening. Next chapter, new character - police have arrived at house , story is back in present. Next chapter another new character - now it is the morning of the murder and the next chapter we stay with this character but the timing is the afternoon of the murder.
This book couldn't seem to make up its mind - was it a romance or a murder mystery - in fact it was neither. The characters are so dreary and lifeless (lack of pacing, anything actually happening to them) that the reader loses all empathy and patience with them by about mid way through the book.
Like many I saw the premise (and the admittedly cute cover) and thought what a great idea. However the magic element feels crammed in at the last moment just so the author can make some admittedly small leaps forward in the plot. And at least twice the author refers to the wrong character. Believe the editors and the author have a lot to answer for.


Little Shop of Homicide (Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries)
Little Shop of Homicide (Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries)
by Denise Swanson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.80

1.0 out of 5 stars So bad I couldn't finish it., 28 Mar 2014
If you loved the Scrumble River Mysteries then you will HATE this book. I seriously have to question if Denise Swanson even wrote this book. There is nothing likeable about the heroine, the plot or even the secondary characters. The dialogue is clunky and the story lurches forward in fits and starts. I gave up half way through, was tired of wading through such a depressing effort.


Half-Off Ragnarok (Incryptid Novels)
Half-Off Ragnarok (Incryptid Novels)
by Seanan McGuire
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun interesting series/world, 16 Mar 2014
Kudos to the author for coming up with this fresh / interesting world. The Price family are fun, take charge, gun-ho and thankfully completely unique. My favourite so far has been book 2 in the series.
This is book 3 in the series and focuses upon Alex (Verity's - from first two books - brother). Alex himself is a little bland and for some reason I found his love interest with Shelby a little flat. All the people/characters in the book are captivating - and in saying that I think the author should have focused more upon those characters; Sarah and Chandi in particular - rather than the animals/cryptids, who just didn't have enough personality to carry the story in some places. (Well except for the mice - but they made few and far appearances - big pity there).
Love this world but thought the author should have either amped up Alex or the story in places in order for me to give five stars. Still I'm looking forward to book 4 and can't wait for little sister Antimony's story - she sounds a riot, lets just hope she gets a book worthy of her reputation.


Bitter Spirits : A Roaring Twenties Novel
Bitter Spirits : A Roaring Twenties Novel
by Jenn Bennett
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Light frothy good time, 20 Feb 2014
For some reason that I can no longer recall I never took to Jenn Bennett's Arcadia Bell series but am very glad I took a punt on this new series by the author. Set in the 1920's in San Francisco this is a delightful light romp. I liked both leads and enjoyed very much the development of their relationship, from their instant attraction through to their eventual hook up.
There are two reasons I am unable to give the book 5 stars. One is the ghost aspect, whilst it was inventive I thought it underused, other than the first two instances Aida only uses her powers actively twice and we never get much of an explanation regarding her powers. The second was the late addition of her dead brother's influence over her actions - this seemed to be thrown in at the last moment as a device to keep the couple apart for a bit longer and never really worked for me.
If you are looking for a light amusing escapist paranormal romance read - then this is the perfect book for you


Cursed by Destiny : A Weird Girls Novel
Cursed by Destiny : A Weird Girls Novel
by Cecy Robson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.82

2.0 out of 5 stars Has become endlessly frustrating, 5 Feb 2014
This series has become an exercise in frustration. The author appears to be caught in a number of endless loops:
- Celia selflessly putting everyone else's needs before her own
- Her sisters putting their bro-ho hunks before Celia's happiness. They never take a stand against the elders on her behalf or ask their men/mates to. Nor do they ever rip into Aric for being hot/cold, instead everyone seems to be all too understanding of HIS pain, since he's the alpha, but no one seems to give a damn about Celia's pain.
- Celia is constantly humiliated, by her own powers (seriously an eagle with breasts?) and by her friends and her sisters' hunks insensitive thoughtless comments (which her sisters should be slapping them in the face for, but never do)
- Men constantly treat Celia like dirt, no matter how much they say they love/need her. The vampire Misha has constant sex with others and rubbing her face in it makes no sense. Aric's alpha male who says one thing, does another, is constantly hot and then cold. Celia's constant does he love me? Why is he acting so cold? Just mind-boggingly frustrating.
- The endless arguments everytime a dangerous situation comes up, the alpha males forbidding the sisters to get involved, lots of talk and posturing until the sisters pretty much do what they were going to do all along
- The oh so obvious bad guys, might as well wear neon signs the moment they appear as there is no subtly to them what so ever, which would be fine if this series was still a romance, now it's become action/adventure - so it needs much more clever plotting.
- Stuff happens that makes no sense and just makes Celia look even weaker than she already is; the vampire wedding for instance in which Celia's bullied to go along with. Sorry what? She says she's in love with Aric but continuously does all this stuff with Misha.
Seriously this series has become a retread of the same action and reactions over and over again. Worst of all Celia as the main character has become a sad wuss of a woman, ultra dependent upon Aric. Every time he gives her a cold look she bursts into tears, only to then be oh so happy when he tells her (for the twentieth time) I had to be mean to you in front of the others so no one would guess my true feelings.
Please Cecy - break the cycle - no one else can do it for you.


The Grendel Affair: A SPI Files Novel
The Grendel Affair: A SPI Files Novel
Price: 4.16

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love this book more... but, 10 Jan 2014
It's a good book, don't get me wrong. Solid story, nice world building, full of three dimensional characters. But I didn't love the book, the characters or the plot - which given it's Lisa Shearin - seemed a little ho hum, no twists, no turns... no fire, nothing at stake.
And the main character Mac - she just fell a little flat for me, she wasn't a wuss by any means but because of the way she was written she was forced to take a back seat in the action a lot because she didn't have the skills. When she does have to get into the action (falling accidently or being the smallest person to fit down the tunnel) well it still doesn't seem to go anywhere and others arrive to save the day.
And I didn't get Ian (the male partner) at all - I understand he's protective, gruff and capable but he's a little on the blah side - there was no spark between the leads, though I got the distinct impression the author was trying to suggest sparkage towards the end of the book, if so it fizzled for me.
Because of the excellent Raine Benares novels I was expecting so much more - I can only hope the next in the series is an improvement. To be frank - if this was a debut author I'd probably never read any of their work again.


Destiny Divided (Shadows of Destiny)
Destiny Divided (Shadows of Destiny)
Price: 0.77

2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible leads with a story that never captured me, 5 Jan 2014
The female lead is petulant, angry and nasty - perhaps she has her reasons, since she grew up in foster homes - but as a reader I need to (if not immediately like) at least respect or admire her as she evolves and develops. Which just did not happen for me.
Same goes for the male lead - arrogant, keeping secrets etc - and I had a very hard time believing these two have an attraction for one another from the very start since they were both so unlikeable.
I tried my hardest to like this book (after all those USA reviewers said the same thing - everyone hated the female lead to start but then the story really took off and it was witty and cool) and I kept trying and waiting - and nothing changed. So I'm officially giving up, never liked Sage, this was not witty or cool - it was just plain hard word that never paid off.


The Night Beat, From the Necropolis Enforcement Files: 1
The Night Beat, From the Necropolis Enforcement Files: 1
by Gini Koch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.81

2.0 out of 5 stars Love the author but am not loving this book, 8 Dec 2013
Interesting and fun story gets bogged down in the telling. The first problem with this book is there are way too many characters - and trying to remember who is whom and what powers they have and what kind of entity they are and which side they are on (good vs evil) is an uphill battle. This book should have started with just a few characters and added them slowly over the chapters or series - it's just too much.
Secondly is the world building - there is way too much explanation. Author has even created characters new to the secret world just as a device so our main character can explain what is going on to them - constantly. Every few pages we have a truck load of information dumped on us. Then the main character switches to a new scene or location or meets someone new and we get another load of information dumped on us. It takes away from the story and the overall flow. So much so that I keep stopping and starting this book and I'm beginning to think I may never finish it.
I love Gini Koch's 'alien series' - think her Alexander Outlander books are cool and different - but this book/series, I'm sorry I just can't recommend it.


Bitterblue
Bitterblue
by Kristin Cashore
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh so disappointing, 27 April 2013
This review is from: Bitterblue (Paperback)
After loving Graceling and Fire, the first two books set in this universe it was with great anticipation I cracked open my copy of Bitterblue. That anticipation quickly turned to horror at the bland story, confused and senselessly mean heroine and a hero who is petulant, abusive and quite truthfully a bit of a thug.
Even the return of characters from the book Graceling are unable to save this tale. Katsa and Po have become a bickering, endlessly at odds couple.
The problem at the core of this book is the character of Bitterblue herself. She in no way resembles the proud fiesty character we first met in Graceling.
Supposedly she has been queen for eight years. Then why is her kingdom still in such a mess? What is the sudden catalyst after eight years to try and change that? Why does she not even know her own castle (the art gallery, the library etc)? Why does she constantly go against sage advice, get herself into a fix and then expect Po to come running to save her?
Just so darn disappointing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2013 11:04 AM BST


Dust of My Wings (Dante's Circle)
Dust of My Wings (Dante's Circle)
Price: 2.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Funny blurb - does not translate to funny/quirky story, 4 April 2013
Maybe it's just me. But for some reason I thought this was going to be a funny, light, quirky story. Angel - who keeps leaving angel dust in odd places, meets super neat freak lab tech girl. Trust me it isn't. It begins okay then goes off on some tangent of angel high council conspiracies and domino matches (yes you read that right) between the hero and heroine. The plot follows a tried and true path - he was just using her / she hates him / he saves her life / she loves him. Throw in a random lightening strike and six close girlfriends (spoiler alert - who will all no doubt inherit strange freaky powers as well so they can have their own book) and no real connection between the hero and heroine and this tale rapidly becomes ho hum boring. The characters failed to ring true and they certainly failed to convince me they were a good match. Best thing about this book is the blurb on the back cover.


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