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review 2018-09-17 16:51
Bewitching Hannah
Bewitching Hannah - Leigh Goff

Third book for Halloween Bingo- Spellbound!

 

Hannah Fitzgerald would like nothing more than to be a normal 16 year old. However, Hannah is descended from a long line of witches and the magic in her is beginning to bubble over. With both of her parents deceased, Hannah moves to Annapolis with her aunt. Annapolis is where her coven is located and has many witches as well as other people with special gifts living among the ordinaries. At school Hannah quickly makes a friend in Summer and her brother Mateo and enemies among the Queen J's, especially their leader, Emme. At her coven meeting Hannah finds out just why she is so hated amongst the J's as well as a few clues to why her parents may have died. A prophecy that foretells of two witches in of Hannah's generation, a battle and then either peace or a downfall. Hannah would prefer to hide from her magic and ignore the prophecy, but with the help of a mysterious friend, she learns to embrace the magic within her. 

Bewitching Hannah is an enchanting young adult paranormal romance that eventually pulled me in with a variety of magic and great characters. The beginning had a lot of information to take in and it seemed like I had missed something and needed to catch up. However, once Hannah was in school and the other witches found her, the suspense, danger and mystery quickly ramped up. I loved that so many magical being lived under the noses of everyday people in Annapolis and that their power was tied to history and culture. I enjoyed watching Hannah grow and make decisions as she came to terms with her magic with the help of the mysterious W. W added a touch of sweet romance and a bit of a Beauty and the Beast feeling. The ending tied everything together with an exciting and twisty display of magic . Complete with witches, curses, ghosts, and shapeshifters, Bewitching Hannah is a perfect Halloween time read. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review

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review 2018-09-04 18:36
Review: One for the Road: An Illustrated Story by Stephen King
One for the Road: An Illustrated Story - Stephen King,James Hannah

I also read this in Night Shift. Love it.

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review 2018-08-30 17:16
The Great Alone
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

Every once in a while, if you're lucky, you come across a book that is always on your mind.  You find yourself at work, the grocery store, yoga class, wondering what the characters are doing, if they're okay, what adventure lies ahead.

 
The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, is one of those books.  It is persistently unputdownable.  It is incredibly written and a lovely sort of haunting. 
 
In the Vietnam Era in America, with a country divided and men returning home as zombies, mere shadows of the men they were when they left, lives were irrevocably changed.
 
Set during this tumultuous time, Hannah tells the coming of age tale of Leni Allbright, who suddenly finds herself and her life being uprooted by her dad's latest and greatest idea.
 
A veteran and POW, Ernt Allbright receives news that a fallen comrade has left his homestead as his legacy to Ernt.  In Alaska.  What better way to heal all wounds than to start fresh?
 
The Allbrights, Leni, her mother Cora, and Ernt, soon find themselves standing in the Alaskan wilderness, completely unprepared.  Hannah paints Alaska as a character in itself, so beautifully majestic that her deadliness is shocking and unexpected.  And the fear of what can kill you (which is pretty much everything) quickly moves from the outside into the home they have built from the shambles of their inherited house. 
 
Life quickly turns into a struggle for survival as Ernt becomes increasingly violent and abusive and the women have no choice but to somehow find a way out.  Find a way to survive. 
 
Guest Review by Kate Kelly
 
 
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review 2018-08-20 02:04
Good Book and Characters
My Lady Captor - Hannah Howell

Lady Sorcha Hay is devastated to learn that English soldiers are holding her young brother captive. Penniless, the only way she can pay for his freedom is by taking a hostage for ransom herself. Her captive--a wounded knight plucked from the battlefield--is furious to be imprisoned by a woman. But nothing will stop Sorcha from keeping Sir Ruari Kerr enslaved, even as the sight of his bronzed body sets her mind reeling and her senses afire.

This book had an interesting twist to it that gave it a very strong female lead in Sorcha, which is a hit and miss in historicals (especially considering this was originally released in 1996). I liked her time with Ruari as well as all of their interactions. However, all the kidnapping became tedious and I didn’t really care for some of the side characters, particularly her brother. You would think that, considering all she did for him, he wouldn’t deny what she wanted.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-08-16 12:35
A good old-fashioned and convoluted mystery with a Poirot in good shape.
The Mystery of Three Quarters: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) - Sophie Hannah

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins UK for the ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I had not realised that an author had been commissioned to write new Poirot mysteries, and as I saw this book after a conversation about Agatha Christie, I could not resist requesting a copy of it. This means I have not read the author’s two previous New Poirot Mysteries (The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket), so I cannot discuss the evolution of the characters or compare this one to the previous two. I am not familiar with any of Hannah’s previous writing either. I have read some of Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories, some of them I read translated into Spanish many years back (and might not have fully reflected her style of writing although I remember enjoying them) and I have not read a Poirot one in many years, although I have watched both films and TV series adapting some of Christie’s classic Poirot novels, so I would not dare to address this review to connoisseurs. Still, for what is worth, this is my opinion.

I enjoyed the novel. The case starts with four seemingly random people accusing Poirot of sending them letters accusing them of a crime. Not only has Poirot not sent them such letters, but the alleged victim died of natural causes (he was an elderly man and drowned whilst bathing, alone in his bathroom). So, who is behind the letters? And what’s his or her motive? I will try and not reveal any spoilers, but I can say that there are plenty of clues to follow, red-herrings along the way, peculiar characters, true and false motivations, slices of cake, dogs, a public school for boys, a wonderful old mansion, faulty typewriters, likeable and less likeable characters, and a Poirot in full form.

The novel is told by Edward Catchpool, a Scotland Yard Inspector who, like Captain Hastings in Christie’s stories, is the scribe behind the stories. He is a new creation and one of a couple of characters that, from the comments, I have read, are regulars in The New Poirot Mysteries. The narration is split between parts written in the third person (when Catchpool is not present) that, when we are some way into the book, he explains he has compiled through later discussions with Poirot, and those written in the first person, that pertain to events he witnessed or participated in himself. This works well, in general (we might wonder briefly how Poirot might have become aware of some detail or conversation, but we all know he has his ways), and it also allows for any differences in style with previous novels to be blamed on Catchpool’s own style of writing (that would not be the same as Hastings’). The language is straightforward and effective in conveying the story, without any jarring moments due to usage inappropriate to the historical period. Catchpool himself does not reveal much of his own personality through the novel and he is mostly a blank canvas to reflect Poirot’s thoughts and his deductive process. There are some interesting personal morsels about the inspector included in the narrative (he does not like his boss at work and he is averse to the idea of marriage, especially one to suit his mother’s taste) but not enough for readers to become truly attached to him. As this is the third novel and I have not read the two previous one, it is likely that people who have followed the whole series will know and appreciate the character more fully (but this is not necessary for the enjoyment of the mystery).

Notwithstanding my disclaimer on my limited expertise in all things Poirot, the Poirot in the novel will be recognisable to most people who have some familiarity with Christie’s detective. People still think he is French, his ‘little grey cells’ are mentioned often, he sprinkles his dialogue with French terms and some peculiar English translations (‘oil of the olives’ instead of olive oil, for instance), he is a keen observer, opinionated, with high regard for himself, and a lover of comfort and good food and drink. Perhaps he is an extreme version of Poirot, but I could not help but remember, as I read the book, that Christie expressed her dislike for the character and called him: detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep. (We might agree or not with her assessment, although her Poirot had some moments of weakness and sometimes showed more of a soft heart than he would have liked to admit). He is that here and keeps making demands on people, puts to the test his ideas and theories in pretty cruel ways, and drags the resolution of the case, creating anxiety and disquiet among all. But he can come up with pretty amazing insights and his figure has always been one of those that perhaps we would not like to meet personally, but we nonetheless admire.

Some of the secondary characters are almost caricatures, and the story is fundamentally about the plot and not about the psychological complexity of those involved, but there are some likeable characters, and I had a soft spot for the younger generation (and the dog). There are good descriptions and observations that will keep people guessing and turning the pages, although the story is not told at a fast pace, and the ending drags on (as is usual for this type of stories, where the reveal can become as frustrating for the readers as for those present). Although the evidence, in this case, remains mostly circumstantial and stretches somewhat the imagination, everything is explained and tied up and people who like a definite ending will have no complaint. There is a murder but there is no explicit violence or bad language and although it will not suit readers looking for gritty and realistic thrillers, it should not offend or discourage most readers who love a gentler mystery.

I am not sure if this would fit into the category of cozy mystery. By its tone and nature, it should do, but many books marketed as cozy mysteries abound in over-the-top characters, seem to place more emphasis on other aspects rather than the actual mystery (romance, recipes, pets…), include elements of other genres (paranormal, for instance), and can be frustrating to any readers looking for logical explanation and a meaty, intriguing, and complex mystery they can actually solve. This is like a good old-fashioned mystery, with plenty of character, a light read that will keep you entertained, and if that’s what you’d like to read, I’d recommend it. (Does it add anything new to the Poirot canon? Well, that is a matter for another discussion. Judging by the reviews, most people think the author has done a good job and has made the character her own). Personally, I’ll keep track of the author and future novels in the series.

 

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