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review 2018-12-18 17:41
Mixed Feelings
The Collector (Marion Spicer Art Mysteries) - Anne-Laure Thiéblemont,Sophie Weiner

From the age of three Marion believed her father was dead. The first time Marion’s mother said her father had died in a plane crash. But in truth her father had abandoned his family as well as his name. Her mother would never talk in any way about her father when Marion asked. Thirty three years later an an executor informed her father hadn’t died so long ago but made a new life for himself. She would be inheriting one of the greatest collections of Pre-Columbian art in the world. There were some stipulations with the inheritance George Gaudin had been Edmund Magni’s- Marion’s father-  P A until a week ago when Edmund had been found in Peru dead. Marion met with Gaudin in her father’s home and he was taking her down in the cellar to see the collection. There was a reinforced steel door and than three rooms. Two rooms with hundreds of clay sculptures and vessels that Marion felt there was nothing pleasing in this collection. The space was a shrine to her father’s obscenity negotiated at the cost of gutted tombs and stolen memories. Than Marion was led to a third room with thirty beautiful pieces- intricate lapis lazuli inlays. Than Marion suggested they go back upstairs and look at pictures of three sculptures she had to find which was a provision of the will. Magni had sold the pieces three years ago. He had kept them barely six months before selling them. As long as the three sculptures weren’t found Gaudin stayed master of the house and owner of everything in it. That was the second provision of the will. Thirty years Gaudin had served Magni Gaudin would tell Marion nothing to help her. Marion worked at SearchArt. Her boss gave her a case she didn’t want and was another employees expertise and not hers. Marion goes to two lifelong  friends of hers in the art world to help her find the sculptures. As Marion looks for the pieces her ;life is threatened and she is almost drowned.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I did learn about the art market and rich determined collectors and not all activities were legal  and I feel this was realistic in a lot of ways. I liked Marion’s character in her love of art and determination to finish something she started even when her life is being threatened. I enjoyed the action, mystery and danger in this book. I was however disappointed by the end of this book. There are: life threats and murder attempts, tomb raiders, missing sculptures, statuettes -forged and real, double dealing, thieves, a hidden collection, a creepy assistant to a dead man, stolen art and so much more in this book. I had some problems at times keeping my attention on this book. So as I said I had mixed feelings on this book and wouldn’t read it again.

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review 2018-01-31 18:31
Not much of a plot, but the ending was great!
The Graces - Laure Eve

There wasn’t a substantial plot with this one. You had an idea on why River was trying to be friends with The Graces and there were hints here and there throughout the story on what River was really wanting to do all this time. You’re pretty much following River as she makes friends and tries to be part of the in crowd with The Graces.

 

I didn’t really like River that much in the beginning. You knew why she was wanting to befriend them however at the same time she had a great friendship with Summer and you were hoping nothing would spoil it.

 

The Graces did have a certain charm to them but at the same time there was also something strange. They’re close knit, secretive, and not your average family. They already had their secrets to start with, and of all the three I’d have to like Summer the most. She was the outspoken one and the rule breaker with at least some semblance of sense and logic that her two siblings didn’t have (those that have read the book would know what I’m talking about).

 

Back to River. Oh darling. You know this could have gone well if you HAD JUST TOLD THEM. Sometimes I hate reading books where the protagonist has this huge secret because they tend to keep it to themselves until they finally realize it wouldn’t help anymore but by that time, it would mess up a lot of things now would it? And all throughout the book you’re screaming JUST. TELL. THEM. Sheesh.

 

Although I know I said I didn’t really like her in the beginning, she redeemed herself in the last third of the book. I was expecting her to be sniveling, crying and pleading but she suddenly became this beacon of rage and I suddenly pulled a 180 and loved her instantly. She finally realized who she was and what she was capable of. She didn’t need the Graces at all - well maybe she needed them to put her in the right direction but it was nice to see her pick herself up and be strong about it.

 

Loved the ending! Such a cliffhanger and I want to know what’s going to happen next now that River has found herself. Sequel is coming out this year! So I’ll be looking forward to it!

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review 2017-12-05 00:43
But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure
But Then I Came Back - Estelle Laure

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

Well, this was disappointing. I had a moment at around 50 pages in where I considered giving up on this book and I probably should have followed that instinct because I really didn't enjoy reading this book. I did think that some sections of the book were better than others but I spent most of my reading time wanting to reach the end just so I could move on to something else.

This book opens with Eden having an accident that leaves her in a coma. As she comes out of the coma, she has to slowly get back to her life which turns out to be a lot harder than you would imagine. She feels a strong connection to another coma patient on her floor Jaz and eventually forms a bound with Jaz's frequent visitor, Joe.

One of the key parts of the book revolved around what Eden experiences while in the coma. I really found that entire section of the book to be more confusing than interesting. I had to go back and read parts of that section several times and was still quite confused. It made sense by the end of the book but I had lost interest by that point.

I thought that the parts of the book involving Joe were much better. Joe was my favorite character in the book by a large margin. He was really a good guy. Eden and Joe's relationship was interesting and a bit unusual. Unfortunately, it seemed to take a really long time for the relationship between these two to even get started.

I will not be recommending this book to others. I am sure that some people will enjoy it a lot more than I did. I was able to get through the book and would be open to trying other works by Estelle Laure.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I had some problems with this one. I thought parts of it were very confusing and found that I was often bored by the story.

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review 2017-01-16 23:22
I Fell Under The Graces Spell
The Graces - Laure Eve River is new to the school, and like everyone, drawn to the enigmatic Grace siblings. But unlike everyone else, River knows how to befriend them and seek their help as rumours of their witchcraft spread through the town. Or maybe she’s just far more determined to be a part of the Grace family. Either way, are the strange things happening a result of their playful spells or is something more sinister going on? First of all, River is not River’s name. We never find out her real name, which I like. River’s new BFF, Summer Grace, encourages her to call her by her ‘real’ name. River isn’t exactly a ‘likeable’ character. She’s far too enamoured of the opinion of others and how she can manipulate others around her. She’s does things and says things not because she means them but because she thinks she sounds or looks cool while she does it. It’s all to impress Fenrin, the male twin of the Graces. Like all teen girls, she’s enamoured by him. But because she’s soooo much smarter than all those other desperate fake girls, she tries to get to Fenrin by going through Summer, only to find that Summer is a pretty awesome best friend to have, because like River, Summer believes in witchcraft and magic spells and everyone loves Summer, but having Summer love River makes River special. River is actually pretty unlikeable. She’s practically delusional: she holds disdain for everyone except the Graces and especially hates all the girls who love Fenrin, despite being one herself. She thinks she’s the only person in the world who is deep and not fake, which is totally ironic because she fakes being Summer’s BFF to get to Fenrin, and her love for him is based purely on his looks (shallow). She is both supremely timid in hiding her personality and inner thoughts, and calculating and utterly confident that Fenrin will return her affections because she’s just that special. Is she after the Graces, wishing to be an honourary Grace herself, or after their rumoured magic? I think it’s both. And then there’s Thalia, the third Grace, and Fenrin’s twin. Fenrin and Thalia are older than Summer and River by a couple of years, and Thalia’s already got her own shit to deal with, but I never really warmed to her in the novel and then it almost seemed like she snapped and became another character entirely. Maybe it’s because I knew a girl called Thalia when I was younger and she was a complete bitch for no reason, so maybe my judgement is a little impaired, but Thalia Grace always seemed a little unhinged and then grew almost psychotic. Maybe it was always part of her personality, or maybe the pressure of being a Grace got to her, or maybe all those little harmless spells drove her mad, but I couldn’t grow to like Thalia. Not that that’s a bad thing, because I didn’t particularly like River, and at least Thalia is responsible for some of the bigger plot points. And I mean, we see the novel from River’s point of view, and how many older siblings like their kid sister’s best friend? I know none of my close friends’ older siblings liked me when I was a kid, for whatever reason, and I doubt my older brother liked any of my friends. So maybe that’s just a Thalia thing, even though the Graces seem pretty close as siblings. I loved the writing style. I loved how unexpectedly the plot went in a completely different direction to which I thought it would go. I loved how River was an unreliable narrator because I haven’t read many of those before, but it did cause me to wonder what the truth actually was a few times, because although River kept secret, she didn’t always come clean with the truth in the end. The only thing I didn’t like was the implied homophobia when two male characters were caught together and the only words used to describe it was ‘disgusting’. UM NO. Two boys in love is NOT disgusting. This was said not only by one character but by my recollection two, or at least the first character implied the second one was thinking it. So despite very few issues with the book, I’ve fallen under the Grace spell and I am really looking forward to the sequel, to finding out how the Graces deal with this new curveball, to finding out how River will be in the next book now that her relationship with the Graces has changed so drastically.
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review 2016-09-27 15:43
The Graces - Laure Eve

Who doesn't love a good book about witches. And while this one was fun, I found the overall plot a little loose with an ending that was a little meh.

I kept expecting the story to go one direction to grow, and it would start to, then it would go back to be the silly school girl stuff that began it all.

The saving Grace, get it? HA! The saving Grace was the promise the end gives you, leading you to believe it the story COULD grow. 

I'll give the next book a shot if for nothing more than it was a fun and easy read. 

Good vacation book.

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