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review 2016-02-18 23:10
Review: Forgetting Tabitha by Julia Dewey
Forgetting Tabitha the Story of an Orphan Train Rider - Julie Dewey

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.

 

I wanted to love this book  I enjoy the era the author attempted to set her tale in, but the books were riddled with anachronistic wording.  When writing a historical fiction an author must carefully research the era they are setting their piece in if they want their work to sound authentic.

 

I found the number of and quality of the sex scenes in this book very off-putting. It is understandable that there be some, do to the characters and situations in the novel, but I felt they over done and tasteless.

 

While this book doesn't have as many grammatical errors as some self-published works, it still had too many for my taste.

 

This author has promise, but needs to work more on her historical research research if she wants to produce quality historical fiction.

 

 

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review 2014-09-08 12:37
A four star read undermined by my knowledge of facts - The Stolen Girl by Renita D'Silva
The Stolen Girl - Renita D'Silva

[This book was provided to me gratis by the publisher, the lovely Bookouture, facilitated in this act of goodness by NetGalley. Thanks guys!]

 

Renita D'Silva is a name I know although not one which has been attached to the front of any of the books I've read. Her previous two novels, Monsoon Memories and The Forgotten Daughter, have both appeared on my Amazon recommended lists and if I had slightly less to read I would likely have tried one or the other by now. Instead, I was pleasingly approved for the ARC of her new novel, The Stolen Girl, which you will be able to part with your money for from the 12th September. 

 

Despite the cover, The Stolen Girl of the story is 13-year-old Diya who one day has an argument with her mum, strops out, goes back for her coat and finds her mum being taken away by The Rozzers. According to the police, Diya isn't Diya, she's Rupa; and Vani isn't her mother, Vani is the woman who stole her as a baby. Diya's real mother, Aarti, is at a hotel nearby, waiting to take her daughter back to India.

 

The book follows these three characters, Diya, struggling to adjust to this new truth, Vani, writing letters to her daughter from prison, and Aarti, desperate to finally meet the child she's been searching for all its life. It also attends to Vani and Aarti's pasts, to their childhoods and to the truth about Vani's actions. 

 

The trouble is, despite an introduction in which the author thanks various people for aiding her with research and which I'm confident she has done, it doesn't read like it. Although I'm a pedant, I don't mind minor changes to fact, especially when they improve the flow of the book - things like (as mentioned in the introduction as being incorrect) the number of visitors a prisoner can receive in a day: absolutely fine. However, The Stolen Girl is dependent on things happening in a way other than they would and that's a problem. A big one.

 

As this is an ARC I don't want to go anywhere near possible spoilers (although I'm happy to provide both mild spoiler and total spoiler explanations via PM/comments) so ...

 

You know that song by Natasha Beddingfield, These Words? You know the way you can't quite believe that nobody, at any point between the initial rehearsal right the way through to signing off the finished track said, 'Actually Natasha, it's pronounced Hy-per-bo-lee"?

 

That.

 

That is the level of error here - the kind of basic thing you'd imagine somebody, at some point between the author writing it and the file being sent to the printer, would have picked up on. Consider the incident in Ireland last October where the Garda removed two children from their Roma families because - thanks to some racial profiling - they believed they'd been abducted; or the case in Greece also at that time which had a different outcome. 

 

Because of this, even when things are correct, I was painfully aware that there is "technically correct" and there is "realistically likely to happen". The Stolen Girl came down far too heavily on the side of the former without reference to the things I'm thinking of.

 

I also have some minor complaints about the book's own continuity - tiny details like Diya commenting she's already lost weight and her clothes are looser on her after only a few days, maybe a week. 

 

It's frustrating because I did really like a lot of this book. I'm not the biggest reader of women's fiction but I really engaged with this one - my mark of a four star read is that I'm eager to get back to reading it to find out what happens and this, despite those errors, did that. Vani and Aarti's story in particular, while veering a little close to soap-opera plotting for my taste - I liked. It's difficult to write characters who act as these do while keeping them believable, but D'Silva does a good job with the emotional side of the story.

 

I can't personally recommend this one, but I will emphasise that if you don't care about things being realistic, and/or you have no idea happens when you commit a crime, you probably shouldn't let this review put you off. Read the Kindle sample and if you don't spot any problems you'll likely be fine. There is a lot to like.

 

However, for me, the problems matter. I'm struggling to decide if this book is actively terrible or just not very good. I want to mark this higher because I did enjoy reading it, but I have to show fidelity to my other reviews. With regret, 1.5 stars.

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review 2014-05-19 18:27
Review: Steal the Light
Steal the Light - Lexi Blake

I received a digital copy of this book from the editor in exchange for a fair review.

Zoey and Daniel have been together since they were thirteen years old. When Daniel is killed by a drunk driver, Zoey thinks her life is over.

 

When he returns to her as a vampire, she lets herself believe everything will be as it once was. Only she loses him again when the vampire Council takes him away to be trained/controlled.

 

Skip ahead five years and Daniel is back, though not like he was before. He keeps Zoey away, gives her half-truths and basically breaks her heart. He only stays around to protect her and in her line of work, she needs it.

 

Zoey is a low-level thief. Not as great as her father, but getting there. Daniel is part of her crew, along with Neil the gay werewolf and Sarah the witch.

 

A strange man named Halfer hires her to steal a supernatural object called the Light of Alhorra, she realizes too late that she made a deal with a demon and her soul is at stake.

 

In the middle of this her troll friends (yes, troll. Not like Harry Potter “there’s a troll in the dungeon!” troll but nice humanish trolls that live under a bridge) convince her to forget Daniel already and get some hot new action! They fix her up with Devinshea Quinn, a sexy half-fae that has been interested in Zoey for a while.

 

While she is trying to fix her love life, she is also trying to save herself and her crew from an eternity in hell.

 

There is lots of action and sex and backstabbing and supernatural creatures (vampires and werewolves and faeries, oh my!). It has a bit of a Southern Vampire Mysteries feel to it, which I enjoyed. I love books where these supernatural creatures are living among us in their own underground society, and few humans know about them.

 

It starts out a bit slow during the setup of the story but quickly picks up the pace, with lots of actions scenes, and a few sexy times scenes. It’s hard to get bored during this book, once it got into its groove, I couldn’t put it down.

 

Zoey tries to be strong and independent but I feel like she gets in over her head a lot. She’s been pining for years after Daniel. Now she is stuck between two men while a demon is trying to steal her soul.

 

Daniel gives Zoey a bunch of the “I’m a vamp now, so I’m not good for you” crap which annoyed me at first but then you learn what it really means in the vamp society to have a human mate and you give Daniel a bit of a break.

 

Neil was a stereotypical campy gay character that likes to shop and go clubbing but he was also a pretty badass wolf and he is super loyal to Zoey.

 

I really liked Dev; he stood out the most for me. He didn’t seem to have any kind of motive other than making Zoey happy. He is very forgiving and understanding, especially when it comes to Daniel and Zoey’s relationship.

 

What happened with the Light of Alhorra was…weird. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

 

The book has its cheesy moments but that doesn’t mean it was bad. Cheese can be so

much fun. There are some detailed sex scenes, which is not really a thing I get into (hence the abundance of YA books on this blog). But hey, if that’s your thing.

 

I feel like if you enjoyed the Sookie books, you might also enjoy this one.

 

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review 2014-05-16 03:07
Review: You Are Mine
You Are Mine (Mine Series, Book 1) - Janeal Falor

My Rating –  3 1/2 of 5 stars

 

I received a digital copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for a fair review.

 

On Serena’s seventeenth birthday, she is waiting to be tested for the magic in her blood. This is her duty as a daughter, to be married off and produce sons.

Well more like sold off.

 

If she has strong magic in her blood, she will be quite literally sold off to the highest bidder. The women in Serena’s country are little better than slaves. They are owned by their fathers and husbands. They are forced to call them Master and submit to their every whim. They have no rights, there only job is to be a subservient wife and produce as many sons as possible. They are often beaten or hexed by their fathers and husbands (and Serena is beaten and hexed by her Father pretty regularly. He’s a douche-nugget). They are barely educated and the only book they are allowed is the Women’s Canon, which teaches them how to act.

 

And if they happen to severely misbehave, they are tarnished. Which means they basically become slaves and are forced to undergo a spell that makes them bald and barren and subject to be sacrifices.

 

It is discovered that Serena has quite powerful magical blood and she quickly obtains a suitor, Thomas. A rich and powerful Chancellor and very cruel (another douche-nugget). By a strange twist of a fate, her ownership is transferred to an Envadi named Zade. A man from another country that her people see as barbarians.

 

Zade is nothing like Thomas. He’s quiet and treats Serena with an amount of respect that is unheard of in her country. The only problem is people are not happy with this arrangement. They don’t want an outsider on their council. There is a bounty on his head and Serena constantly pushes the limits of her new found freedom. Which causes even more trouble for Zade and may end up costing both of them their lives (dun dun duuuunnn).

 

Okay so, I read this book in a day! I actually really enjoyed it. Serena is pretty stubborn and headstrong for a girl that gets constantly beaten and hexed by her Father. She sometimes doesn’t think before she acts, which gets a little annoying (come on girl, do you have NO sense of self-preservation?!) But then again she is only seventeen and what seventeen year old girl actually thinks about their actions? However she is also super protective of her sisters and friends, taking the blame for things they have done wrong. And she also wants change and is willing to fight for it. She hates how the woman in her country are treated and is so used to abuse, she is very shocked when Zade doesn’t punish her but also tells her that the women of his country are not treated that way.

 

Her world is terrifying to me, how woman are so easily abused and disregarded. Several times I wanted to reach through the book and strangle her Father.

 

Cynthia is Serena’s sister and very loyal to her. She has seen what Serena went through with Thomas and has taken her own abuse from her Father, yet she has a fanciful idea of marriage. Which I thought was rather silly, though again, teenage girl.

Zade was kinda of mysterious, and kind but he does have his GGGRRRR moments. We really don’t see much of him to be honest. I wish there had been more.

 

The book was good though Serena does have the clichéd moments of “does he like me?” “Oh well he must like this other girl. I’ll just step aside…” Chick, you are headstrong enough to go out without a chaperone but you can’t ask what his relationship is with a certain girl!?

 

I wish there had been a bit more romance between Zade and Serena and a little more action at the end. I feel like the book was resolved a tad too easily. I would have like to see the magic in the blood thing explored a little more, maybe in the next book? (It’s in Cynthia’s POV)

 

Anyways, I enjoyed and will more than likely be checking out the next book!

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review 2014-02-27 13:03
Review - Above by Isla Morley
Above - Isla Morley

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

 

The story starts with Blythe, a teenager, being kidnapped by a survivalist librarian and stuffed in an underground missile silo.  She is never found and lives with this crazy man who eventually joins her in living in the silo.  She is raped, repeatedly and eventually bears a son who is raised in the silo.

 

I enjoyed the first part of this story, but it rapidly went from enjoyable to tedious.  The formatting wasn't great (it was an E-ARC, so I didn't use that in my rating), and add to that the writing was disjointed.  

 

Then came the plot twist... I nearly tossed the book to the DNF pile at that point, but kept going.  It was as if the author lost all control of the story and that came across in the writing.  

 

I do not recommend.

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