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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-24 18:48
A Dance In Blood Velvet by Freda Warrington (2016 Review)
A Dance In Blood Velvet - Freda Warrington

A Dance In Blood Velvet by Freda Warrington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Black shadows appear within the Crystal Ring, bringing confusion and fear to those who inhabit it. Charlotte Neville and her lover Karl von Wultendorf find themselves, despite being separated by emotional conflict, deeply embedded in the scheme of three mysterious figures that wish to preform a questionable ceremony.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

The first instalment (A Taste of Blood Wine) of this darkly alluring series captured my heart, in that despite the overly dramatic tone relating to the Neville household, I found the writing itself a literary treasure; atmospherically gothic, intense and beautiful; it appealed to my utmost fondness for vampire romance. What I expected from this volume, was more of the same brilliance, yet instead of entertaining family turmoil, relationship jealously saturated every aspect of each character and unfortunately dulled my enjoyment because of such. I'm all for conflicting emotion, of mistakes being made due to overpowering feelings, yet nearly every event that transpired in this book, was more or less due to jealousy in some form - Ben and Lancelyn, Charlotte and Katerina, Karl and Violette. Perhaps I should've appreciated the fact they were realistic, and like normal people plagued by insecurities, but there's a point I began to roll my eyes at the abundance of selfish behaviour.

A happily-ever-after was not in store for Charlotte and Karl, on the contrary, in fact. They spent most of their time apart, as obstacles seemed to rise in every direction and threaten their attempt at eternal love. I didn't mind this, I actually considered it refreshing that they had to continually fight to make it work. I however believed them both mostly to blame for their unhappiness, and Charlotte became especially intolerable. From being jealous of Katerina whilst she, herself, had the audacity to lust after and stalk Violette, well, what happened to the character I actually liked and felt attached to? And when she planned to turn Violette without even asking for her permission, I was ready to throw the book across the room. The same occurred with the rest of the characters, as well; I didn't particularly feel for any of them.

This isn't to say I believed the entire book a disappointment. Some endearing elements were still present, such as the style of writing and the overall elegance of the story, but it definitely lacked some of its original charm. The plot consisted of two, seemingly separate subplots coming together, pretty much revolving around the (re)birth of Lilith. Religion was further contemplated, yet it remained a mystery if God actually existed. The exact origin of the Crystal Ring was also pondered upon yet again, raising the question of if it relates to scientific or spiritual means. I do wonder if answers will ever come to light, or if it'll remain unexplained. At least the discovery of humans accessing the Crystal Ring was revealed, and the presence of a physic human also added to the conundrum that is Warrington's world.

In conclusion: The self-centred actions of the characters brought bouts of annoyance. I'll certainly continue with this series, but I hope I enjoy further instalments more than this one.

Notable Scene:

"How can I be content to bury myself in dead mythology, after living mythology has revealed itself to me? How can I feel anything for Lamia, succubus, incubus, Lilith and her demon children or all the angels of heaven, when I have met a real being who is richer and stranger than anything on the dry page of a book?"

"Do you want to write me into a book, a thesis?"

"It's tempting, but no, no more than I'd put a bird of prey in a glass cage."

© Red Lace 2016

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/03/24/a-dance-in-blood-velvet-by-freda-warrington-2016-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-24 17:57
The Tracker by John Hunt
The Tracker - John Hunt

The Tracker by John Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Taylor's life is in ruins; his face publicly known for crimes so bloody and awful. He does the only thing that could possibly help him in the situation - he walks through the door of a police station and turns himself in. With no resistance and full compliance, Taylor recounts the most horrific time of his life, where a monster haunts his every step - a brutal game, where fear is in full effect.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

This book certainly doesn't mess around; it plunges you neck-deep into the chaotic life of Taylor, a suspected murderer whom swears innocence despite the evidence against him. I found myself instantly drawn in to his situation where I, too, questioned his very sanity, whilst also sympathising with him on some level. Hunt's intention was quite clear from early on - a fast-paced, thrilling concoction, meant to keep you on your toes. The one thing that really impressed me was the twists and turns that genuinely shocked me - all too often I foresee a typical plot direction and it ruins what's supposed to be surprising, but Hunt was able to expertly weave the unexpected and force me to reanalyse what I thought I already knew. I can't give enough credit to tales that make you pause and think; authors can certainly mess with their readers and bring the unpredictable.

At no point did boredom raise its pesky head; too much was happening. What started off as Taylor's recount of his last forty-eight hours of forcibly taking part in a game of hide and seek, turned into a grisly manhunt of murder and mayhem. The aspect of "The Tracker" and how he was able to influence his victim was an interesting one. He didn't seem to have any intention other than to toy with his prey and use their own suppressed hate against them. I really wish more information was offered regarding him, and if he had any other motive than just chaos.

Taylor and Owen, on the other hand, had a brief connection that stood out for me. It might have been highly impersonal for Owen, but for Taylor it was an examination of his life. I felt for him, for the struggle he had endured. Relating to him in a way, I hoped everything would have worked out, but I knew it was ultimately doomed.

Despite my high praise of certain aspects - that being the story itself, I found the writing to be terribly messy at times and it subsequently distracted me more than once. This is more to do with sentence structure and, of course, my own personal taste. I'll however give an example of exactly what I mean:

Owen realizing the paramedic wasn't only mad because he had walked in to find an unconscious man still cuffed to a steel table, he was thinking while flashing his beady accusatory eyes that Owen had something to do with it, had maybe even injured him and Owen tired and grumpy, opened his mouth to say something he'd immediately regret when Earl cut in and said...

I admit, I had to re-read this confusing pile of words about five times, and even then I had a hard time of discerning it. What should have been at least two sentences, were fused together to create something that just didn't work inside my head. Throughout the entire book, the quality reached both highs as well as lows, giving the impression that certain parts were rushed, whilst others more thought through. I believe it could have benefited from more editing to tighten it up, and thus make it overall easier to read.

In conclusion: A good story that kept me guessing, however the format of writing brought its cleverness down. I would consider it unfinished, and in need of further editing.

Notable Scene:

He needed time to process and speak with the other officers monitoring the interview to strategize how best to confront Taylor. Because no matter how much Taylor believed what he had said, it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. Shadow men do not hunt people through the city. There were no shadow men.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/03/22/the-tracker-by-john-hunt
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review 2018-03-24 04:24
The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World's Worst Dinosaur Hunter by Tim Collins & Sarah Horne (Illustrator)

This was over all a fun read, though at times felt a little slow.




In my opinion, it felt like it was missing a lot of details and actions. I could not get a clear picture of the surroundings or characters. However the descriptions of the bones and dinosaurs was handled really well.

I liked the main character. She was spunky, spoke up for herself and knew what she wanted to be and didn't let stuffy scientist guys stop her.

This is a fictional take on what if a little girl discovered some of the most known dinosaurs. The story was cute, there was segments that told the true facts of the dinosaurs she discovered, which I found really neat.

Any dino loving kid sound read this and hopefully it turns into a series of kids doing great things.

But, let's forget about age; anyone who enjoys middle grade may like this book. It is well written and if you like diary format, that is a plus. I also want to point out that I loved the artwork by Sarah Horne.


*Provided by Netgally*

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review 2018-03-23 19:06
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

“For a second it looked like a mortal horse. The next it was pure sand. Shifting from bright gold to violent red, fire and sun in a windswept desert.”

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review 2018-03-23 15:07
A dystopian novel that really seemed like a glimpse into the future: global warming has taken its toll at last, but is there any slice of hope? Fascinating read!
Pills and Starships - Lydia Millet

I really enjoyed this ‘glimpse into the future’, because while this is indeed a dystopian novel, it sure seemed like I was reading a real journal (that of the main character, Nat, who writes it in the week leading up to her parent’s planned death). I chose this book for a group read on Litsy, where we send a book, marked up with our notes, along to the next person, and the other three do the same with their picks, so that we have a book mailing circle.
This first caught my eye in my local indie bookstore, where it had a recommendation tag (and an awesome cover), and the premise is this: teen siblings named Nat and Sam, accompany their parents to Hawaii who together have decided to spend their ‘Final Week’ before the contract for their deaths is carried out. Nat and Sam are long to say their goodbyes. That’s right, in this imagined future, where global warming has finally made the world so unbearable and everyone gets through their days by taking moodpharms (ie happy pills because the world is so depressing), you can take out a contract for your death when you get old enough, and you can pay for assisted suicide on the Big Island (it’s not illegal anymore and quite encouraged, and rather embraced).
The world that is in this dystopian future is so sadly believable that I read it as if I had some sort of special peek into what was going to happen if we continued with what we are already doing to this planet, and I have a feeling author Lydia Millet has distinct opinions on what’s to blame for the ruin to come (I tended to agree!); it’s not hard to imagine much of our wildlife gone, whole states like Florida under water, a whole garbage vortex in the ocean....
I can’t say too much about the plot but this was a great, thought-provoking, interesting story, and I will say there was some hope at the end. It’s not a long book but it packs in a lot to think about. I hope for everyone reading it, that it makes them think a little bit more about their carbon footprint and about how we really are lucky to have this Earth.
*And I don’t care too much about a future without pet cats. That will be a sad day.

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