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Avenger's Angel
Avenger's Angel
by Heather Killough-Walden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.79

2.0 out of 5 stars Found it hard to finish, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: Avenger's Angel (Paperback)
It was the cover of this book that first caught my eye, the colours, the wings, just gorgeous! I was very excited when I won a copy of it from Book Chick City and it didn't take me long to get around to reading it.

By the time I sat down to read it I'd heard so many good things I do have to admit I had high expectations of the novel. I was looking forward to a book about angels which is something I do usually like but I hate to say I was quite disappointed.

But first the good things! I liked the way the angel mythology was worked in to the story. It was different and I felt it tied in with Christianity and God without being either pro or anti, the author got a nice balance here. The plot was also well paced for the majority of the book with only a bit mid-way through the book where I was slowly loosing the will to read it (but it did lead to short reading slump).

However, I felt the lead female Eleanore was just not all that interesting which stopped me getting "into" the book as much as I could have. She had supposedly been on the run most of her life but I found that hard to believe from her actions in the novel. Also, she spent most of her time just being aroused by the men she encountered which I wasn't all that interested in knowing about! Speaking of the men they were generally better developed character-wise and I even managed to buy the cross-over with another paranormal mainstay (without spoiling the book for anyone). But my one bugbear was Gabriel and his supposed Scots brogue. It was appalling. I'm Scottish and I could barely bring myself to read his dialogue it was so painful. I wish authors wouldn't base all Scots on Scotty and Groundskeeper Willie.

For me the negatives in reading this book, including the lull in the plot mid-novel, made this a less enjoyable read than it could have been. I did consider not going back to finish the book when I hadn't picked it up in a few days but I persevered! I'd be interested to know what happened next, but would be unlikely to purposefully seek the next book out.


Velvet
Velvet
by Mary Hooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: Velvet (Paperback)
It has been a while since I have read historical fiction aimed at young adults, when I was a bit younger I preferred thrillers and fantasy, only really getting into historical fiction once I really started exploring the adult market. That said I really enjoyed this book.

It is immediately accessible which made it very easy to get in to. Velvet is a great main character, very real and very practical which appealed to me. Yes she has crushes on handsome bad boys and is taken in by the life and charm of Madame Savoya, but right from the start you also see her rational mind question what she is seeing. I also liked that for most of the book you do wonder if mediums are real....

That brings me on to the other thing I loved about this book, the attention to detail. Mary Hooper has done her research and she depicts mediums of that time in a very real and believable way. At the end of the book she gives a quick description of real cases she has read that she included in the story and I have to say that it definitely came across.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book. It is easy to read and great escapism with enough reality to really pull you in. Fantastic!


Fallen Grace
Fallen Grace
by Mary Hooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: Fallen Grace (Paperback)
I started reading this as soon as I had put down Velvet by Mary Hooper. Like Velvet, Fallen Grace was immediately accessible. Grace was yet another fantastic character. I was in late late pregnancy when I read this so immediately sympathised with what she went through. Usually depictions of teenage pregnancy irritate me but I felt this was done well by Mary Hooper, it was simply used as a plot device and not glamorised in any way. It was in keeping with the time in which this story was set.

The author also picked yet another fascinating aspect of Victorian culture to depict, the funeral industry. I knew nothing about it, but having read her blog post about this book on History Girls I knew that what I was reading was based on truth which made it all the more fascinating (and horrific). I also loved that this could have been straight out of a Dicken's novel with the poor little orphans and evil adults, brilliant!

This was lovely fun read which I found very hard to put down. I would highly recommend it!


The Lady of the Rivers
The Lady of the Rivers
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the older novels but still good, 23 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lady of the Rivers (Hardcover)
I am a self-confessed Philippa Gregory fan. It started after I saw "The Other Boleyn Girl" in Tesco one day. I was never really into Historical Fiction but something about the cover intrigued me. One weekend of reading and I was hooked so I have a lot to thank her for! I now pre-order all her novels in Hardback and even have a signed copy of a novel from when I attended one of her book tours. With this I am always going to be biased towards her novels.

That said, I do think this is a good book. Writing about women from pre-Tudor times means Philippa Gregory does have to fill in a lot of gaps and I got that feeling when reading the novel. The inclusion of Joan of Arc for example. Also the Melusina element and fortune telling gave the book a supernatural element but she has done this before in other books (most notably The Wise Woman) and I liked it. It is after all fiction.

If you have read her other novels in " The Cousin's War" then you will have already met Jacquetta, but I liked really getting to know her as a young woman. I found her story interesting. It wasn't a time in history I was familiar with but I found it easy to get to know the main characters and found myself understanding more of the events which took place later. It wasn't one of Philippa Gregory's best books but it wasn't the worst either (sorry The Other Queen). My main criticism is that given that this was book 3 in the series but took place earlier I would rather have read this before the first two, but that is just my preference for reading books in chronological order.

This is a good books for fans of the genre and is worth a read, but I don't think it would win over new fans the way some of her other novels have.


The Captive Queen
The Captive Queen
by Alison Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow to start, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Captive Queen (Paperback)
I've read many interviews with Alison and seen her in several television documentaries so had started to pick up her fiction novels when I saw them and this was the next one I wanted to read.

I'll start with the positives. I loved the setting of this book. Set in the 12th century it is the time of fairy tales where queens wear tall hats and knights go on crusade. It is what I imagine when I think of the King Arthur legends and the time I dreamed of after running around Tintagel Castle while on holiday as a child. For that reason I was sold on this book before I started.

The character of Eleanor of Aquitaine is a fascinating one and Alison Weir has done a brilliant job of building her around the historical fact known about the real woman, particularly when she lived more than 800 years ago. I wanted to keep reading to find out more about her story, and the novel certainly brought it to life more than a non-fiction recount of known events.

The only problem was I did need something to keep me reading. The first 100 pages or so were a bit of a struggle and had I not read this book while heavily pregnant with little to distract me I might not have continued with it. I think the main problem was that I didn't warm to the characters, they seemed a little fake and I couldn't really invest in their story. Also towards the end as well things got a bit repetitive, although this was due to the real events this time, but by this time you did want to know how the characters stories ended.

The other criticism I had was that I wanted to more about Richard the Lionheart (mostly due to a love of Disney's Robin Hood) but given that this book isn't about him I can't complain too much!

I'd recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and encourage anyone reading it to keep going as the story does settle in and is a well thought-out fiction based around the lives of more fascinating English monarchs.


Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep
by S J Watson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not unique but very enjoyable, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
I read this as I wanted something a bit different. The premise sounded interesting and it was by bestselling authors, I was expecting a fun, action packed read.

Unfortunately this book didn't deliver. The plot was disappointing. It started off well, with twists and turns and trips from country to country following clues. All good so far. Then without spoiling the ending, it all went wrong for me. The ending was very, bleugh. There were "revelations" about the truth that Christianity is founded on which involves the 13th apostle. I'm not Christian, but I wasn't comfortable with where the authors took this. This spoiled any enjoyment I might have got by the books conclusion and mostly involved me complaining at the book as I was reading it. This is a personal thing though.

The other problem I had with it was that for a book by bestselling authors, it seemed rushed together. The bit at the back of the book says they have been working on it for 10 years but it definitely didn't read like that. The characters were more like characatures. The strong female, the reluctant male hero. Indeed the latter complains a lot and is inconsistant, all for believing his situation one page to totally not the next page. He was also slow on the uptake a lot, considering he was meant to be a computer whizz, which felt like more of a plot point than building a realistic character.

The prose itself also didn't read well and was poorly edited. The sentences were clumsy and the language repetitive when they were describing things as if they were trying too hard. All of this suggests it was rushed through editing on the back of a bestseller.

I have to say I didn't enjoy this book and wouldn't recommend it.


The 13th Apostle
The 13th Apostle
Price: £1.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 23 Jan 2013
This review is from: The 13th Apostle (Kindle Edition)
I read this as I wanted something a bit different. The premise sounded interesting and it was by bestselling authors, I was expecting a fun, action packed read.

Unfortunately this book didn't deliver. The plot was disappointing. It started off well, with twists and turns and trips from country to country following clues. All good so far. Then without spoiling the ending, it all went wrong for me. The ending was very, bleugh. There were "revelations" about the truth that Christianity is founded on which involves the 13th apostle. I'm not Christian, but I wasn't comfortable with where the authors took this. This spoiled any enjoyment I might have got by the books conclusion and mostly involved me complaining at the book as I was reading it. This is a personal thing though.

The other problem I had with it was that for a book by bestselling authors, it seemed rushed together. The bit at the back of the book says they have been working on it for 10 years but it definitely didn't read like that. The characters were more like characatures. The strong female, the reluctant male hero. Indeed the latter complains a lot and is inconsistant, all for believing his situation one page to totally not the next page. He was also slow on the uptake a lot, considering he was meant to be a computer whizz, which felt like more of a plot point than building a realistic character.

The prose itself also didn't read well and was poorly edited. The sentences were clumsy and the language repetitive when they were describing things as if they were trying too hard. All of this suggests it was rushed through editing on the back of a bestseller.

I have to say I didn't enjoy this book and wouldn't recommend it.


The Christmas Bake Off
The Christmas Bake Off
Price: £0.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 23 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I picked this up for free for my Kindle after the title caught my eye (I loved the British Bake Off show this year!). I thought it would be a good way of trying out Abby Clements before buying any of her books too.

It was a nice enough wee story based around a village baking contest. However the characters weren't particularly engaging as despite the short length of the story and reading it in one sitting I kept getting Katie and Rachel mixed up. I think I was looking for a bit more depth but it all felt rather superficial.

I have to say I was disappointed and it didn't encourage me to read anything else by Abby Clements.


A Brewing Storm (part 1 of the Derrick Storm Trilogy) (Derrick Storm Trilogy E-Shorts)
A Brewing Storm (part 1 of the Derrick Storm Trilogy) (Derrick Storm Trilogy E-Shorts)

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the show..., 23 Jan 2013
I bought this to read because of the TV show Castle which is one of my favourites, well actually I bought this for my husband to read but I couldn't resist having a read too!

First of all it is very different from the TV show, as most crime books turned TV shows are. But this is different, as it is a book derived from a TV show supposedly written by a fictional author. Confused? Then this book isn't for you as I think it will mostly appeal to fans of the show!

Anyway, as I was saying this is different from the light-hearted banter-filled TV show. It is quite serious, and reads like a typical bestselling thriller. The lead character Derrick Storm is a bit of a maverick, a ladies man, a player. But not so much that you don't like reading about him. The writing isn't the best but it's alright for a short story. It has a nice wee twist or two at the end and I will definitely be reading more shorts in the future by Richard Castle.


In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1 (Jefferson Tayte)
In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1 (Jefferson Tayte)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 23 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I picked this up for free on my Kindle. The fact the it was a genealogical thriller caught my eye as plotting my family tree is one of my hobbies so what better than combining two hobbies this way!

The story took a little while to get started but once it did I was hooked. I literally read into the wee small hours to find out the next little secret or big shock coming my way, or rather the way of Jefferson Tayte the main character. He was an engaging main character and quite realistic which was nice, he came across as a normal man in unusual circumstances. I liked that he does think to himself "why am I doing this" as several points in the book, he wasn't just getting into these situations and coping, he was struggling to do what needed to be done.

I loved the splattering of family history research too and found myself thinking of ways he could find the piece of information he needed. It was definitely a great angle on the usual historical mystery novels. The flashbacks were a good device to tell the story of the next nugget of truth discovered and were as well written as the present day scenes.

I can't wait to read the next book and have nearly bought it several times this week already, I may just have to go buy it now even though I have several other books to read first!


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