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review 2018-09-10 05:07
Daughter of Sand and Stone (DNF @ 25%)
Daughter of Sand and Stone - Libbie Hawker

This is not what I was expecting. Instead of focusing on historical facts about Zenobia, a little known Palmyrene empress who stood up against Rome and took back Egypt before her defeat, this is a fictionalized account of what her life might have been like. Granted, there is more myth than facts about Zenobia, and what facts exist are scant at best, so putting together any story of length would require a lot of guesswork. 


I never heard of Zenobia, and I was interested at first. Hawker clearly is familiar with the time and place in which this history takes place and describes it all with vivid detail. But things quickly started to drag it down.


I'm not usually one to quibble about POV and verb tense because certain stories and characters just work better in 1st person vs 3rd person, or present tense vs past tense. However, writing an historical fiction in present tense felt awkward, especially when paired with the 3rd person omniscient. Present tense works best with 1st person POV, which gives the story an immediacy and intimacy. The 3rd person took away the intimacy, even though we're told what the characters are thinking and feeling, and the slow pacing took away the immediacy, so it felt like the tense was constantly fighting with the story being told. Add in the random head-hopping and there was too much disparity for the story to flow.  


I soon found myself wishing that the story would cut through all the theorizing and get to the point. So I jumped to the author's notes at the end where she details the research she did and why she made certain narrative choices, and that was all I really needed. :D

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review 2018-09-09 11:58
The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany,Neil Gaiman

This is a faery tale that focuses on the story that happens after the marriage of the elf-princess with the mortal prince.  Getting what you asked for isn't always a good thing.  The writing is lyrical and ethereal.  The story entertaining and enchanting, if occassionaly a bit slow.


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review 2018-08-19 01:44
Not Her Daughter
Not Her Daughter - Rea Frey

Not Her Daughter is well-written and the story has a building tension that keeps the pages turning. The story is written in dual points of view, alternating between our kidnapper, Sarah, and Emma's mother, Amy. We also get before, during, and after chapters to give some perspective into the characters and their frame of mind. All of this should've added up to a high-praise review. However, there were a few things throughout the story that niggled at me. Amy is unlikable from the start, which is kind of the point, and Sarah makes a rash decision to kidnap Emma, thus freeing her from a bad home life. Why Sarah chose kidnapping over calling authorities is explained, but suffice it to say that her emotions and mental state weren't exactly where they should be. Okay, I can get with that. My problems started from there. I don't want to give spoilers, so I'll just sum it up with either Sarah is extremely lucky or everyone involved is completely inept at their jobs because her name is never brought up. Not once. The ending, while unexpected, was unsatisfactory at best. I understand that this one is in the works for the big screen and maybe it will work better in that format, but for me, there were just too many things that required a suspension of disbelief. On the whole, the story had great potential, but fell a bit short of that wow factor.

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text 2018-08-17 16:28
Reading progress update: I've read 123 out of 529 pages.
The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter knows how to write a compelling story. It´s gritty and gory and there is so much drama in the life of the main character, it is unreal. But I cannot put this book down, even though I had other plans:




Well, at least I did a little bit of house cleaning today :).



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review 2018-08-11 19:58
The Locksmith's Daughter
The Locksmith's Daughter - Sharmila Cohen,Karen Brooks,Karen Brooks

Mallory Bright is returning to her family home in disgraced.  At nineteen, she ran away with a man she believed to be the love of her life only to be taken advantage of.  Her father has rescued her and her mother has created a less shameful ruse for her to live by. However, Mallory is still seen as a blight by her mother and neighbors.  Her father, a locksmith has taught Mallory skills over the years.  Mallory is his lock pick, testing his wares.  He calls on an old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham to find employment for Mallory.  Walsingham sees potential in her skills and brings Mallory on as a watcher in his spy network.  Mallory is the key in exposing several Catholic threats to the Crown. Although, as Mallory begins to see the destruction she is causing, her loyalties to Walsingham begin to waver.

From the moment Mallory is introduced, I was latched on to this historical thriller. Mallory is intelligent, thoughtful and eager to learn.  She is desperately trying not to let peoples thoughts of her and her past effect her.  I immediately wondered what her shameful secret could be and why she blamed herself. Then, I was brought into Mallory's world of locks and lockpicking.  I learned about the intricacies of the locksmith world in Tudor England and how valuable a well made lock could be in this time-period.  Through Mallory's eyes I was taken into the dangerous world of Sir Francis Walsingham's spy ring and was able to see the talent and the tasks that were deemed necessary in order to keep Queen Elizabeth safe.  As Mallory trains and becomes and agent, she finds purpose and begins to forget her nightmarish past.  However, as her actions as a spy begin to bring harsh consequences to the people around her, Mallory wonders if the people Walsingham has deemed dangerous really are as threatening as he perceives, or if they are just people trying to practice a religion of their own.  Historical accurate detail of the political climate and descriptions fill out the writing, from stage production, food, dress and housing, I could picture Elizabethan England.   I also don't believe I had ever read about a hanging, drawing and quartering in enough detail to turn my stomach.   A dash of sweet romance from a brusque Lord Nathanial helps to round out this fast paced historical thriller.

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

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