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review 2019-02-21 07:30
DNF The Wicked Vampire
The Wicked Vampire (Last True Vampire series) - Kate Baxter

It’s bern nearly two months since I last picked this book up and current have no desire to finish it. While there are some deliciously steamy sex scenes the plot seems repetitive in the I love you but I hate you theme. It’s not badly written or anything it’s just not doing anything for me personally right now.

Thank you Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the review copy.

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review 2019-02-20 18:17
The Tudor Rose - Margaret Campbell Barnes
Tudor Rose - Margaret Campbell Barnes

There is just something about older historical fiction. Whether it's Barnes, Plaidy, or Seton, there is just something about the writing style that most modern historical fiction misses. I just can't imagine any of my grandchildren reading anything by Philippa Gregory and commenting on the serenely, lyrical way Gregory sets a scene. Because she doesn't. That's a story for a different time folks.


One of the things I enjoy most about books set during this time period is seeing how the authors deal with some of the more controversial happenings of the day. In this instance, the characterization of Richard III and the mystery surrounding to what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Barnes deals with both in a believable manner. Richard III isn't some hunchbacked, snarling, fork-bearded bad guy bent on ruling with an iron fist. He's not an overly romanticized nice guy by any means. Does Barnes believe Richard III to be responsible for the death of Edward V and his younger brother Richard? Absolutely. She uses the Tyrell argument which some might find weak. However, it's important to take into account when this book was written. That was the primary theory at the time. Barnes doesn't try to argue anything from left field. She works with the evidence as presented at the time. She's not trying to re-invent the wheel. It works for this story.


One of the other things I enjoyed about Barnes' storytelling was the manner in which she portrayed Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Personally, I think Margaret tends to be over vilified. She was a product of her raising and the times. She held to her faith in God and her son. Do I think she was a little overbearing as a mother-in-law? As someone who knows a thing or two about an overbearing mother-in-law, yes. Margaret probably was a bit much to handle. Do I think she was as easy going and loving as Barnes wants us to believe? Not quite. I don't think you get to where Margaret got in life by being full of sunshine and daisies. I also wasn't a huge fan of how Barnes continued to try to convince me that Beaufort was head over heels in love with her first husband and Henry's father, Edmund Tudor. Margaret knew the man for all of five minutes before he made her pregnant and then died after being captured in battle. She was 12 when they were married. Trying to convince me she was head over heels in love with the man is going to take a lot of work. 


If I'm going to compare Elizabeth of York stories, I will say I like Plaidy's interpretation just a tad better. Barnes' Elizabeth comes off a little weak and at times flighty. However, her love for England and her family can never be doubted. Overall, it's a pleasant story and makes for an enjoyable, light read. 

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review 2019-02-13 20:26
Review: Sawkill Girls
Sawkill Girls - Claire Legrand


I received a copy from Netgalley.


It’s been a long time since I read a book and thought what the fuck was that when I finished. I was rather looking forward to this one as well. I’ve heard of the author and have most of her YA books on my shelves. So I was quite excited when I got the approval for this one. I saw it featured around Halloween a lot on my YA twitter feed last year.


I usually like books that are quite different, especially ones that promise a spooky atmosphere and a strange plot. But in this case – I really just did not like this book at all. Right off the bat something didn’t sit well with me on this one. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and the style of the writing was weird. It had some really descriptive lines, some scenes almost boarding on poetic.


Then something would happen and try to be gory and freaky and it came across as more comical than anything. One thing I really did like was plus points for diversity in the characters – one character is asexual, and the other two girls hook up and there is some really hot girl/girl scenes.


The plot was too bizarre for words. I only kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on, but the more I read the more annoyed I got with it. This book was a major disappointment.


Thank you to Harper360 for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2019-02-13 19:17
Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes
A Thousand Perfect Notes - Christine Drews

I received a copy from Netgalley.


I honestly don’t know how to feel about this one. I wound up getting a finished paperback, I saw it in the bookshop and couldn’t resist after seeing how pretty the cover was. At just under 300 pages it’s a fairly short read.


A contemporary YA set in Australia. – Trigger warnings for abuse both mental and physical.


15 year old Beck lives with his mom and younger sister Joey. Beck’s German mother was a piano prodigy in her youth but circumstances cut her glorious career short so she’s decided to live her dreams through her son instead. Beck is forced to practice complicated classical piano all his spare time before and after school. He lives in a very strict environment where everything revolves around his piano playing.


His mother is one of the most brutal, violent YA parents I have come across in a long time, she was absolutely vile. She ridicules Beck every opportunity, as if she’s looking for anything to criticize his playing. She uses threats and violence. Beck is allowed no friends, no freedoms, only focus on the piano; even school seems to be a second thought. The mother has spent every last cent she has on the piano Beck plays and they are not well off. Something she never fails to remind him of.


Poor Beck is a shrunken, pitiful mess. He’s afraid of his own shadow. The story is told from his point of view and his voice is just heart breaking. I spent most of the novel wanting to hug this poor kid and take him away from his horrible home life. He has a small relief in his delightful younger sister Joey. Joey is a loud and bright kindergartner who loves her big brother.


Because of the violence hanging over his piano playing Beck has no idea just how good he is, since all he’s heard is he’s never going to be good enough. He has a secret hobby of writing his own music. For a school project Beck is paired with August, a flighty girl who’s a big animal rights activist. She’s airy and full of personality, doodles on her hands, walks around with no shoes. August was nice enough, but there was something about her that I didn’t get. I couldn’t really connect with her character at all.


While Beck is trying to get through school with as little effort as possible, August despite her somewhat flaky personality, is a straight A student. She’s determined to get a good grade on the project. She slowly begins worming her way into Beck’s life, meeting with him before school so they can walk Joey to the kindergarten together and discuss their project. She bonds with Joey and tries to find out more about Beck. He’s clearly resisting and doesn’t want to know, but she just doesn’t seem to want to accept that.


As the days progress they get to know each other and little by little, Beck slowly starts opening up to August, learning to like some new music, some new foods. It’s sweet watching them come together, but…eh, there was just something not working for me where August was concerned. She gave off this sort of “I’m so speshul because I’m different” vibe I didn’t gel with as a reader. One thing I really did like about August was her parents. Her parents run an animal sanctuary, and they were awesome. I loved August’s parents.


Meanwhile Beck has the threat of several very important performances hanging over him, and things are not going well. When things don’t go well his nightmare of a mother goes into violent overdrive. It’s horrifying to read as things go from bad to worse for Beck. We learn a little about his mother’s background when Beck’s uncle – a very famous pianist comes to visit. But it’s no excuse for her behaviour. And the uncle is not trying to excuse it, at least.


It’s not an uplifting story at all, really. As mortifying as some of it is, there are some scenes that were beautifully written, capturing Beck’s terror at home, the loathing he has for the piano, the secret desires and longings. While some of it was rather boring and slow. It has its moments as well were hope shines through in a rather grim story.


Certainly shows a lot of promise for a debut. I rounded up and gave it three starts (it’s somewhere between a two and three for me).


Thank you to Netgalley and Orchard Books for the review copy.

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review 2019-02-12 19:43
Review: "Blaze" (Unbreakable Bonds, #5) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Blaze - Rinda Elliott,Jocelynn Drake

For the first time in this series I had some minor issues regarding the story.


For example, I HATE it when a character doesn’t want any children and explicitly says so, and yet his partner tries to convince him otherwise. Some people/couples just really, truly don’t want any children and like it that way, authors.



I also wasn’t very enthusiastic about that storyline with Lucas’ sister Nicole. I found his strong reaction towards her a little weird and also out of character. I didn’t get why he still held such a huge grudge against her after all these years for something she said to him when she was 14 (!) years old and basically still a child.


But this is just small stuff. Because when this series shines, it shines. And it never shines brighter than when (any) two characters have a heart to heart (Lucas and Snow!). Those are the moments that make this series.


Oh, and that wedding of course. That was everything one could wish for.



~ 4 stars ~


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