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review 2017-11-20 23:12
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Audiobook)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Can a pond be an ocean?

 

This isn't the best that Gaiman's ever written, but it's still filled with his delightful prose and vivid imagination. The boy who is the POV character is more of a witness to the events around him, even while he's the unwitting reason for many of them. Leti, her mom and grandmother are as mysterious as they are fascinating. Since the boy isn't really given many answers, a lot goes unresolved or hinted at, but it's the adventure that this boy goes through that matters. 

 

Neil Gaiman narrated this and I could honestly listen to him read the telephone book, so full marks for the narration.

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review 2017-11-20 20:11
The Kiss of Deception / Mary E. Pearson
The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles) - Mary E. Pearson

She flees on her wedding day.  She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.  She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.  She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.  The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia escapes to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

 

Holy Mother of Love Triangles, Batman!

However, having said that, it’s a common trope in Romance novels, and is used quite effectively in this YA novel. Of course our main character is a princess, one who has become a runaway bride. Unwilling to marry for political purposes to a young man that she’s never even met, Lia takes off on her wedding day and sets her sights on becoming a commoner.

Enraged that his bride has kicked over the traces, her betrothed goes looking for her. He seems unsure of quite why—maybe he just wants to look at the woman he’s lost, maybe he wants revenge. Also pursuing the fugitive bride is an assassin from a neighbouring kingdom whose job it is to eliminate the princess and thus make sure that these two countries don’t unite against his.


The inevitable (in romantic fiction) happens and both young men unexpectedly find that they really like Lia. They both (unwisely) spend time with her and learn the reason that she fled and the things that matter to her. Lia finds that she likes both young men, not knowing that they have ulterior motives for spending time in her company.

I have to say that it took me 2/3 of the book to figure out which name belonged to which man! I could have sorted it out, but preferred to just plough on until the matter sorted itself out. I didn’t really find the assassin’s task to be a sensible one—just let the princess stay lost and the situation resolves itself! Plus, Lia’s quick adaptation to working at an inn seemed too easy. Despite those misgivings, I think that my teenage self would have loved this book. It makes at least as much sense as the Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart books that I was devouring at that age!

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review 2017-11-20 19:53
"Pocałunek zdrajcy" Erin Beaty [TRAITOR'S TRILOGY #1]
Autor: Erin Beaty
Tytuł: Pocałunek zdrajcy
Cykl: Traitor's Trilogy, tom 1
Liczba stron: 472
Wydawnictwo: Jaguar
Premiera: 25 października 2017

 

Szpieg musi nieustannie mieć się na baczności. Nie tylko dlatego, że zdobywa ważne informacje. Przybiera różne maski, tworzy nowe postaci i historie, a wchodząc w rolę, nie może o niej zapomnieć nawet na moment. Okłamywanie ludzi staje się konieczną codziennością, a prawdziwą tożsamość jest zmuszony ukrywać, bez względu na okoliczności. Czasem nadchodzi jednak chwila prawdy, a reakcja oszukanych osób może być tylko jedna...
Odkąd Sage Fowler straciła rodziców, mieszka u wuja i ciotki, w posiadłości Broadmoor, gdzie zajmuje się nauczaniem swoich młodszych kuzynów. W przeciwieństwie do nich nie może poszczycić się arystokratycznym pochodzeniem. Niecierpliwie czeka więc na chwilę, gdy będzie mogła podjąć pracę i zacząć żyć na własny rachunek, wolna i niezależna. Tymczasem okazuje się, że wuj planuje wydać ją za mąż. Bez jej wiedzy umawia spotkanie z miejscową swatką. Dziewczyna wpada we wściekłość. Nie chce być niczyją żoną, poza tym żywi ogromną niechęć do aranżowanych małżeństw. Mimo wszystko stara się wypaść dobrze, by ciotka nie uznała jej za niewdzięczną. Rozmowa z Darnessą przybiera jednak niespodziewany obrót - swatka składa Sage zaskakującą propozycję.
Największym atutem powieści Erin Beaty jest dla mnie postać głównej bohaterki. To zdecydowanie dziewczyna z charakterem, wyróżniająca się na tle wszystkich innych. Choć żyje w świecie zdominowanym przez mężczyzn, wcale nie zamierza im się podporządkować. Chce dokonywać własnych wyborów i realizować marzenia, nie oglądając się na konwenanse. Inteligentna, wyjątkowo spostrzegawcza, a do tego niepokorna i uparta - z pewnością nie stanowi dobrego materiału na potulną żonę, skupioną na spełnianiu poleceń męża. Świetnie sprawdzi się za to w zupełnie innej roli. Jakiej? O tym musicie już przeczytać sami.
 
Pomysł na fabułę także mi się spodobał, choć cała intryga rozwija się dość wolno. Muszę jednak przyznać, że moja uwaga była tak skupiona na Sage (oraz na wątku szpiegowskim), że nie przeszkadzało mi to zbytnio. Zwroty akcji można policzyć na palcach jednej ręki, ale jeden z nich zupełnie wytrącił mnie z równowagi. Nie dawał mi spokoju, w kółko zastanawiałam się, jak to możliwe, przecież to się w ogóle nie trzymało kupy. Na szczęście w końcu dostałam satysfakcjonujące wyjaśnienie. Gdyby autorka pozostawiła tę kwestię domysłom Sage... cały urok powieści ulotniłby się dla mnie bezpowrotnie.

W pakiecie dostajemy też parę scen walki, raczej mało widowiskowych. Największe wrażenie zrobiła na mnie pewna strategicznie zaplanowana akcja, choć bezpośrednich starć było niewiele. W tym temacie obeszło się bez fajerwerków, za to w repertuarze znalazło się miejsce na ogień i eksplozje.
Powieść Erin Beaty okazała się lekturą lekką, zabawną, intrygującą, a momentami także trzymającą w napięciu. Historia skupiająca się wokół odważnej, niepokornej dziewczyny z charakterem zdecydowanie mnie wciągnęła. Główna bohaterka wciąż intrygowała mnie, rozśmieszała lub zadziwiała swoją spostrzegawczością i oryginalnymi pomysłami. Choć akcja rozwijała się powoli i można się było domyślić, do czego zmierza, podczas czytania wcale mi to nie przeszkadzało. Spodziewałam się za to nadejścia wojny zapowiedzianej na okładce przez wydawcę i w związku z tym te nieliczne sceny walki lekko mnie rozczarowały. "Pocałunek zdrajcy" zrobił jednak na mnie pozytywne wrażenie i myślę, że stanowi całkiem obiecujący początek trylogii. Polecam!
 
Za egzemplarz książki dziękuję serdecznie Wydawnictwu Jaguar!
Source: ogrodksiazek.blogspot.com/2017/11/pocaunek-zdrajcy-erin-beaty-traitors.html
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review 2017-11-20 17:30
Every Story Was Monstrous Fun
The Monster Hunter Files - Larry Correia,Jim Butcher,Faith Hunter,Jonathan Maberry,Oliver Wyman,Khristine Hvam,Bailey Carr,Audible Studios
Fabulous audiobook, filled with excellent short stories perfect for travel, walking, sitting or just ignoring the people around you. The narration was very well done. I think this is the first anthology where I enjoyed all the stories and authors.
Two of my favorite authors were included in this monster hunter collection of short stories, Jim Butcher, and Faith Hunter. Both write fabulous characters and truly wicked monsters, so I was thrilled when I won a copy of this. Yes, both knocked it out of the park with their tales. Really I had no doubts they wouldn't. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed each of the other authors previously unknown to me. I think the last story was my favorite new to me author story, it was about a Golem, I love Golems.
I plan on reading each of the other authors from this collection.

 

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review 2017-11-18 22:18
Book Review of Nefertiti's Heart (The Artifact Hunters Book 1) by A.W. Exley
Nefertiti's Heart (The Artifact Hunters Book 1) - A.W. Exley

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

 

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London - finalise her father's estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara's demons, or could he lay them to rest?

 

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem known as Nefertiti's Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.

 

Review 3*

 

This is the first book in The Artifact Hunters series. I have been wanting to read this book for some time, but due to my large reading list haven't been able to do so until recently.

 

Cara Devon is a character I found likeable, but did want to do her some physical harm when she made impetuous decisions that put her life on the line. She also rushed into a relationship with the viscount, even after being sexually abused for years. This aspect I found most unbelievable, considering she was uncomfortable even hugging an old childhood friend. She is a young woman living in Victorian London. She returns to her deceased father's house with the intention to sell off his collection of artefacts he had acquired. One of the artefacts is rumoured to be Nefertiti's Heart, a gem of immense power reputed to give the owner immortality. Unfortunately, there's a killer after the artefact too and Cara soon finds herself facing some hard choices - continuing to run from the killer, or being helped by Nathaniel Trent, a viscount and a pirate/businessman/crime lord who wants the artefact for himself.

 

As I said above, I have been wanting to read this book for some time, so when I started reading I was very excited. The story is told through the eyes of both Cara and Nathaniel, though mostly through Cara's. The story started off strongly, with danger around every corner, which kept me hooked. Then the story took a more sedate turn about half way in and somehow lost the immediacy when the two main protagonists became more romantically involved. I'm not saying this was a bad thing, only that the story flow seemed to slow down and it focused more on the romance side than the adventure/action one. I still found myself riveted to the story, but it somehow became more predictable and when certain events happened it felt inevitable. I love a good plot twist that surprises me, but I could see more than a few of them coming from a mile away, even the revelation of who the killer was. This dampened my excitement over the story somewhat. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings.

 

I love reading books in the steampunk genre and feel I don't read them often enough. However, I feel the author did a wonderful job in bringing the characters to life, as well as the Victorian past. So why the low rating? This is because although I enjoyed the story, I didn't feel any emotional attachment to the characters. Other readers may have a different reaction, so I will leave it to you to decide whether or not to give this book a try. As for me, I am considering reading the remaining books of the series, though due to my large reading list it could be some time before I would be able to.

 

A.W. Exley has written a wonderful steampunk romance/adventure that kept me hooked from beginning to end. I loved her fast paced writing style. Though the pace slowed down half way through, I thought the flow was wonderful as it flowed easily from scene to scene.

 

Although there are scenes of a sexual nature that are not explicit, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence and gore. I do, however, recommend this book if you love Egyptian mythology, steampunk or fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

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