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review 2019-01-22 22:31
Book Review of The Letter (The Chateau series Book 1) by Emma Sharp
The Letter - Emma Sharp

On yet another wet morning in Yorkshire, Laura, a newly qualified nurse, orphaned at a young age and brought up by her late grandma, is struggling financially and emotionally since the death of her beloved gran. That is, until one morning, when, out of the blue she receives a mysterious letter. With life changing decisions to be made, will Laura take up the challenge of starting a new life in the French sunshine? 
Join her on the rollercoaster adventure, as she experiences highs and lows, opens new doors, makes new friends; and enemies along the way. Who can she trust in this unfamiliar country with the secrets that she uncovers? And, how is she going to deal with her belligerent, new neighbour?
So much more than a rags to riches story.

 

Review 4*

 

The Letter is the first in The Chateau series written by a debut author. I really enjoyed it!

 

Laura Mackley is a character I struggled to connect with at first, but as I read further into the story, she grew on me. By the end of the book, I liked her, even though some of her internal monologues made me want to roll my eyes or slap her silly. She is a nurse in England, who receives a letter that changes her life. Inheriting a chateau in France, she finds herself facing many challenges and decisions. As she delves deeper into the history surrounding her inheritance, Laura uncovers a family history previously unknown to her. Will she find her answers?

 

I don't usually read a lot of women's fiction. However, as I am trying to broaden my reading horizons, after reading the synopsis, I decided to give this book a try.

 

This story is told through the eyes of Laura. There are a few interesting characters in this book. Xavier is a French farmer, and neighbour to Laura. He comes across as intense and broody. Alice is his elderly mother, who has had a recent hospital stay and required care. Then there is Gus, Xavier's young son. There are a few more characters that make an appearance, which gives the story a nice realistic feel. There's even a piano playing ghost!

 

I started reading this story but wasn't instantly sucked in. I found it easy to put this book down, do something else, then pick it back up. This doesn't mean that I wasn't enjoying the story. As I said above, my problem lay in liking (or in this case, disliking) the main character. As I read more of the story, I became intrigued with the history of the chateau and Laura's family connection to it. There is a mystery hidden within the pages of this book, but as this is the first book in a series, some mystery remains towards the end. Xavier and Laura seem to have some chemistry, but I'm unsure if it's love or hate. Laura certainly emotes hate, but Xavier is an unknown quantity. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops.

 

The author describes the scenes quite well, and this made it easy for me to picture in my mind's eye. Some dialogue feels a little forced, but for the most part, makes the characters come alive. There are a few twists thrown in, and the one near the end completely surprised me. I definitely didn't see that scene coming! Although the story doesn't end in a climatic cliffhanger, it does end on a small one. The author has added a teaser for the second book to tempt the reader into continuing with the series. I will be doing so in the future.

 

Emma Sharp is a debut author who has written an intriguing story. Her writing is not particularly fast-paced, but it is enough for me to keep turning pages. The story flows well, which makes it more enjoyable too.

 

Although there are no scenes of violence or any of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers, as I feel they may struggle with it. I do, however, recommend this book to readers of women's fiction, literary humour and romance. - Lynn Worton

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review 2019-01-07 21:39
Very Good, Jeeves / P.G. Wodehouse
Very Good, Jeeves! - P.G. Wodehouse

Whatever the cause of Bertie Wooster's consternation — Bobbie Wickham gives away fierce Aunt Agatha's dog; again in the bad books of Sir Roderick Glossop; Tuppy crushes on robust opera singer — Jeeves can untangle the most ferocious muddle.

 

What an excellent first book for 2019! Wodehouse writes like a charm, making me giggle whilst turning a gorgeous phrase. And it’s as if he knew the women in my family when he says, “Hell, it is well known, has no fury like a woman who wants her tea and can’t get it.” My sisters, my niece and myself frequently suffer from being hangry if we are not fed & watered on a regular basis. Having a pleasant outing requires copious amounts of coffee, regular feedings, and sufficient snacks for the day. So Jeeves plan to disrupt Mrs. Bingo Little’s school friendship through depriving her of lunch plus delaying tea-time was entirely believable to me.

I love Bertie’s willingness to flee the house to avoid unpleasantness, his suffering being known as a lunatic in order to avoid jobs & women. He is the ultimate peace-at-any-pricer. The all-knowing expertise of Jeeves is the perfect foil to the very fallible B. Wooster.

If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Mr. Wooster and the inimitable Jeeves, what are you waiting for?

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review 2018-12-31 09:42
"Bleeding Empire" by C. L. Raven - abandoned at 38%
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

Humour's a funny thing, until it isn't. Then, it's a complete waste of time.

 

I started "Bleeding Empire" hoping for a zany and original approach to the Apocalypse,

The opening fitted the bill. The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse (five because Death is twins) arrive in a city centre (without horses - banned by Health and Safety - but with motorbikes) to find that everyone is so busy with Christmas shopping that their, slightly bumbled, entrance goes unnoticed. Then they checked into a cheap TravelInn and bickered endlessly about what to do next.

 

By the 20% mark, I was beginning to realise this book might not be for me. I felt it was trying too hard. There was lots of brittle, clever-clever dialogue exchanged between the five horsemen of the apocalypse as they behaved like sadistic, murderous, children on a sugar-high with a tendency to sulk or throw tantrums when not killing people. This got old VERY quickly.

 

The graphic violence had already palled. The witty dialogue had slipped into juvenile jibes with a bleeding edge vocabulary. There was some gleeful anarchy at the heart of everything but it was SO anarchic that the story seems to have no purpose or direction.

 

I hoped that a plot might emerge or, failing that a character or two I might care about, or even a clever twist that explained why this video game level carnival of carnage was interesting.

 

I gave up at 38%, after a series of murders and a violent riot that were described in detail but without any flair. Who knew that blood and gore and pointless, spiteful aggression could be so boring?

 

Now I'll never know if this bunch of back-biting, sulky, incompetent demi-gods ended the world. The upside is, I won't have to spend any more time with them in my head.

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text 2018-12-31 08:17
Reading progress update: I've read 38%. - I'm DNFing this
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

Who would have thought that graphic violence preceding the end of the world could be boring? 

 

I'd thought this would be my book for the New Year door in 24 Festive Tasks but now I'll have to look for something else.

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text 2018-12-29 23:18
Reading progress update: I've read 20%. Oh dear . this is not going well
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

So far this book has been trying to hard. Lots of brittle clever-clever dialogue pasted over four horsemen of the apocalypse who behave like sadistic, murderous, children on a sugar-high.

 

The graphic violence has already palled. The witty dialogue has slipped into juvenile jibes with a bleeding edge vocabulary. The gleeful anarchy is there but it's SO anarchic that the story seems to have no purpose or direction.

 

I'll give it to the 30% mark to show that it's going to be worth my time or I'll move on.

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