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RETALIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 6)
RETALIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 6)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting end to the series, 27 April 2017
For the past few years I have eagerly awaited the publication of the next instalment in the Roma Nova series, looking forward to finding out what happens to Carina, Aurelia and their family. The danger with looking forward to things too much is that they can end up being disappointing and letting you down. Given that we knew exactly what was going to happen (Aurelia 1 Caius 0) Retalio had the potential to be stale, disappointing and dull. Thankfully it fell into none of those traps.

Morton excels at writing multifaceted and believable characters and difficult twisting plot lines. Typically her books fall into the 'can not put down' category and I find that I make every excuse possible to read them as fast as possible. A secondary read is then both necessary and rewarding as the many sub plots come to the surface that end up being missed on an initial fast read. The plot line of Retalio is not as complicated as some of the other novels but the tension is high and Morton managed to keep me on the edge of my seat right to the very end. It is a worthy end to the series and drew a lot of disparate stories together.

I am sorry that this is the last in the series, what do I have to look forward to next spring? Hopefully some further stories will be on their way from Roma Nova or the EUS, I would love to find out what really happens to Marina and does the young Hartenwijk have something to do with it? Perhaps we will hear more from Conrad's point of view or even Quintus or maybe something completely different.


AURELIA (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 4)
AURELIA (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 4)
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 10 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alison Morton's books have become a signal part of my yearly calendar. I wait impatiently for their release and dedicate May to their enjoyment. I find the books close to unputdownable and read them through in a day or two. After which I have to go back to the beginning again and read them at my leisure to get the most from the complex and multilayered plots.

Aurelia is no exception to this and kept me up at night in the days after purchase. It tells the story of the redoubtable grandmother of the heroine of Morton's earlier books, fleshing out Roma Novan history along the way. I look forward to the further segments of the story.


Britannia's Amazon: The Dawlish Chronicles Volume 5  April - August 1882
Britannia's Amazon: The Dawlish Chronicles Volume 5 April - August 1882
by Antoine Vanner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to the Dawlish histories., 10 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I approached the book, a departure for Vanner, with trepidation. I have enjoyed Vanner's books and am looking forward to learning of his hero's adventures. I have never been particularly interested in his wife, Florence admirable though she is/was. How wrong I was. Britannia's Amazon maintained my interest throughout. our heroine and her friends find themselves drawn, inexorably, in to a morass of sin. Exposed to the horrors of the Victorian underworld her conscience compels her to act.

Many supporting characters from previous books make an appearance here and it is good to see them get a further outing. Vanner fleshes them all out into three dimensional individuals. Too many authors allow their supporting characters to become pastiches or caricatures. Not so Vanner who creates people you are desperate to meet and know.

A special shout out to the short story Britannia's Eye which is included with this book. It tells another part of the Dawlish story and delves into his relationship with his uncle, his sponsor in the Navy. Is he a retired man facing his own mortality or is he something very much more interesting indeed...?

I hope that Vanner will continue to explore the lives of Florence and other supporting characters as distinct from Dawlish (although more Dawlish too please!).

In summary an excellent addition to the Dawlish histories.


The Seventy-Four: Under Admiralty Orders - The Oliver Quintrell Series - Book 5
The Seventy-Four: Under Admiralty Orders - The Oliver Quintrell Series - Book 5
Price: £3.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspense on the high seas., 2 Oct. 2016
The book was both enjoyable and well written. The story moved at a good pace and it was a pleasure to see the characters grow and develop over the course of the book. There is something for everyone, nautical nuts, suspense seekers, action junkies and more.

I was lucky enough to see an advance copy and it kept me enthralled on a recent flight.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2016 9:25 PM BST


INSURRECTIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 5)
INSURRECTIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 5)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aurelia's story continues, 5 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The author's books are a fantastic find. Since coming across her work a few years ago I have waited for the next instalment with bated breath.

The author has created a credible alternate timeline with a former Roman colony set in Slovenia continuing to flourish in the present day. The previous book, Aurelia brought the story back from the present day (or perhaps a little in the future the timing of the earlier books is a little confusing) to the 1960s while this offering sees it updated to the events of the 1980s. The plots are refreshingly complex and the books engage the brain at all times.


Britannia's Spartan: The Dawlish Chronicles:  June 1859  and  April - August 1882
Britannia's Spartan: The Dawlish Chronicles: June 1859 and April - August 1882
Price: £2.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Vanner Triumph, 5 May 2016
I have enjoyed all the Britannia's X books to date and Spartan is no different. The tale is well paced and places our hero in some rather sticky situations. While is a relief to see Dawlish is now enjoying the fruits of his former labours in the form of the command of his ship Leonidas (the spartan of the title) it is refreshing to see that Vanner does not allow him a free ride. While he is suited and able for command he does not find it easy by any means.

The story sees a simple mission turn into a diplomatic nightmare and puts Dawlish at risk of starting a war with a potentially very dangerous new power. As always the supporting characters are well drawn and help to render the book far more of a three dimensional tale than many of its erstwhile competitors.


Britannia's Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles November 1879 - April 1880
Britannia's Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles November 1879 - April 1880
Price: £2.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morally ambiguous adventures on the rivers of South America, 8 Feb. 2014
This fantastic sequel to Britannia's Wolf brings Dawlish to South America but as the book progresses he starts to question whether he is on the right side. Will Dawlish decide to further his career at the expense of his morals?

Packed with detailed action and a wealth of technical detail Britannia's Reach is an un-putdownable book and I cannot wait for the next instalment.


Britannia's Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 - February 1878
Britannia's Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 - February 1878
by Antoine Vanner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to future installments, 3 May 2013
I have long been a fan of the Sharpe series and similar stories. I was therefore very excited to hear about the new 'Dawlish Chronicles' series.

Britannia's Wolf does not disappoint. Dawlish is a suitably Victorian hero - a complex individual with all the virtues and some of the vices of his period and background. He leads a cast of complex, interesting characters - scheming royals, plucky women, shadowy threats, bloodthirsty brigands, heroic men and some ordinary people struggling to live through interesting times.

Vanner brings the period and the settings to life. He clearly knows his history and his technology backwards and the book is filled with interesting vignettes of information that never threaten to take over the story or hinder the narrative.

An excellent debut novel - I look forward to the next in the series.


Ms Cliff the Climber (Happy Families)
Ms Cliff the Climber (Happy Families)
by Allan Ahlberg
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anything but happy families, 18 Nov. 2012
I was very upset with this book. We had it as part of a happy families collectors edition given to my children by a relative. Most of the books are very good and my Son and I picked up this book to read without a second thought.

It starts well but after the mother and father marry and have a baby they 'shout a lot, cry a lot and get a divorce'. At no stage do the parents try to resolve their difficulties. At no stage is the child shown to have a problem with the divorce or any issues to work through. A few pages show how hard life is as a single mother (no mention of shared custody or any contact with the father) she meets a divorced man. He at least is shown as having some contact with his children. They are even allowed to attend the wedding but are written out of the story after that. Ms Cliff gets husband number 2 as easily as she disposed of husband number 1. She has another baby and her children grow up.

Of course I read ahead on the page while my son is reading to me. I was so upset by the casual attitude shown to divorce and absent parents that I said I would read one or two of the passages to my son. I was able to have the husband number 1 die (he fell off a mountain), Ms Cliff and her daughter Clarissa found life very hard and sad but they coped. A few years later she met husband number 2, his wife had also died and he had been very sad. They decided they could be happy together and got married.

I could not believe the casual, drip of indoctrination that was present in this book, divorce is not sad, it is inevitable. Of course divorce is a factor in our society and children will come across it, some sadly through personal experience, others through friends. It does need to be dealt with in children's literature but in a supportive and sympathetic manner that addresses the complex emotions that children will feel during this time. It does not need to be brought in to a book that ostensibly deals with happy families.


Mrs Vole the Vet (Happy Families)
Mrs Vole the Vet (Happy Families)
by Allan Ahlberg
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing and far from a happy family, 18 Nov. 2012
This book is not about happy families. On Page one we are told that Mrs Vole has no husband, on page two that Mr Vole has three stepsons, eleven rabbits and a new wife "We will forget about him".

All I could think about was his poor children and poor Mr Vole. (He looks pretty unhappy in the painting) He is left to care for his stepchildren but his own children have to forget about him while they take care of their mother. They help their mother search for a new boyfriend and they mention that they like 'nice wallets'. One potential suitor is seen to be writing cheques for the children. All comes good in the end (for the mother and children at least) but the message this book conveys is profoundly depressing and not suitable for young children.

I cannot believe that the publisher and the author thought it appropriate to tell young children that a parent is disposable. Very disappointing. My children will not be reading this book any time soon.


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