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review 2017-11-18 22:18
Book Review of Nefertiti's Heart (The Artifact Hunters Book 1) by A.W. Exley
Nefertiti's Heart (The Artifact Hunters Book 1) - A.W. Exley

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

 

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London - finalise her father's estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara's demons, or could he lay them to rest?

 

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem known as Nefertiti's Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.

 

Review 3*

 

This is the first book in The Artifact Hunters series. I have been wanting to read this book for some time, but due to my large reading list haven't been able to do so until recently.

 

Cara Devon is a character I found likeable, but did want to do her some physical harm when she made impetuous decisions that put her life on the line. She also rushed into a relationship with the viscount, even after being sexually abused for years. This aspect I found most unbelievable, considering she was uncomfortable even hugging an old childhood friend. She is a young woman living in Victorian London. She returns to her deceased father's house with the intention to sell off his collection of artefacts he had acquired. One of the artefacts is rumoured to be Nefertiti's Heart, a gem of immense power reputed to give the owner immortality. Unfortunately, there's a killer after the artefact too and Cara soon finds herself facing some hard choices - continuing to run from the killer, or being helped by Nathaniel Trent, a viscount and a pirate/businessman/crime lord who wants the artefact for himself.

 

As I said above, I have been wanting to read this book for some time, so when I started reading I was very excited. The story is told through the eyes of both Cara and Nathaniel, though mostly through Cara's. The story started off strongly, with danger around every corner, which kept me hooked. Then the story took a more sedate turn about half way in and somehow lost the immediacy when the two main protagonists became more romantically involved. I'm not saying this was a bad thing, only that the story flow seemed to slow down and it focused more on the romance side than the adventure/action one. I still found myself riveted to the story, but it somehow became more predictable and when certain events happened it felt inevitable. I love a good plot twist that surprises me, but I could see more than a few of them coming from a mile away, even the revelation of who the killer was. This dampened my excitement over the story somewhat. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings.

 

I love reading books in the steampunk genre and feel I don't read them often enough. However, I feel the author did a wonderful job in bringing the characters to life, as well as the Victorian past. So why the low rating? This is because although I enjoyed the story, I didn't feel any emotional attachment to the characters. Other readers may have a different reaction, so I will leave it to you to decide whether or not to give this book a try. As for me, I am considering reading the remaining books of the series, though due to my large reading list it could be some time before I would be able to.

 

A.W. Exley has written a wonderful steampunk romance/adventure that kept me hooked from beginning to end. I loved her fast paced writing style. Though the pace slowed down half way through, I thought the flow was wonderful as it flowed easily from scene to scene.

 

Although there are scenes of a sexual nature that are not explicit, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence and gore. I do, however, recommend this book if you love Egyptian mythology, steampunk or fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-11-18 08:05
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return: Star Wars Part the Sixth
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return - Ian Doescher

—O knavery

Most vile, O trick of Empire’s basest wit.

A snare, a ruse, a ploy; and we the fools.

What great deception hath been plied today—

O rebels, do you hear? Fie, ‘tis a trap!

~Admiral Ackbar, Act IV, Scene 3

 

Yes, good Admiral, ‘tis a trap! I was lulled into a false sense of security by the general awesomeness of Star Wars meets Shakespeare and everything was going swimmingly—until I was forced to picture Harrison Ford as Han Solo singing a jubilant love song. A trap indeed! Minus half a star for that!*

 

*Not really for that. I just enjoyed this slightly less than The Empire Striketh Back and slightly more than Verily, A New Hope, so I rated accordingly.

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text 2017-11-18 05:53
Reading progress update: I've read 545 out of 735 pages.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling,Kazu Kibuishi,Mary GrandPré

Nifler

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review 2017-11-17 16:58
Fathers and sons in America: A Matt Phelan Masterpost
Bluffton - Matt Phelan
The Storm in the Barn - Matt Phelan

I had said in last week's post that today I'd be writing a Matt Phelan 'masterpost'. Typically this means that I cover 3+ books by a single author (or multiple authors writing together in a series). However, today I'm just going to talk about 2 books because honestly that's all I could get my hands on and so that's all I managed to read. :-) I picked up Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton and The Storm in the Barn with fairly high expectations based on the work I had seen by Phelan in the Comics Squad compilation I read and reviewed not too long ago. On the one hand, I was not at all disappointed. The illustration style is most definitely up my street. He is excellent at drawing evocative expressions on people's faces. I think where I was let down was on the overall reading experience. Let me take each of the books separately so that I can (hopefully) explain what I mean.

 

I read Bluffton first because it featured a circus and I am all about that circus lifestyle. Firstly, when I grabbed this book I somehow missed the subtitle and therefore was shocked to discover that one of the main characters in this book is that famous star of vaudeville, Buster Keaton. Secondly, I went into this book expecting a rollicking good time and instead got a somewhat borderline depressing narrative of what the childhood of Buster would have entailed since he was a performer from infancy. It's about the expectations that a parent has for their child and how those might be vastly different from the aspirations that the child holds for themselves. It's also about the nature of friendship and jealousy (especially when one of the friends is an itinerant performer). It's a coming of age tale that paints a rather grim picture of child stardom and how the experiences of our youth shape us into the adults that we will one day become.

 

Then there was The Storm in the Barn which I can only categorize as a Debbie Downer type of book. I'm not sure that this falls under any one genre. It's most certainly historical fiction as it depicts a little boy, his family, and his community as they struggle during the time of the Dust Bowl in Kansas circa 1937. However, it also contains fantasy elements of which I can't really go into without spoiling the plot... It's certainly rooted in reality because Phelan does not shy away from the harsh conditions that these characters face (don't even get me started on the rabbits). He covers bullying from both peers and parents. The protagonist is forced to watch a beloved sister struggle with a possibly fatal illness. The entire plot is fraught with tension and a dark cloud seems to hover over every page. What I'm trying to say is that if you're looking for a light read to send your tots to sleep at night then you should probably keep looking. BUT if you wanted to teach your kids about an era of history that's not usually dwelt upon in the classroom then this might indeed be the right selection for you.

 

I'd rate both books about the same. In terms of imagery and writing, they're both 10/10. The issue is that I held expectations about these books (as readers do from time to time) and I finished both of these feeling somewhat let down. I understand that not all books are going to be rosy, sweet, and fun. I know that not every book has a happy ending. And yet when these two books delivered hardship, sadness, and loss I was ill prepared and disgruntled. I can't honestly flaw these books and say that from a reviewer's standpoint they were faulty...but I still find it difficult to give them full marks just the same. Does this make sense? I guess my point is that a book can tick off all the boxes and still fall short based on the assumptions of the reader and/or their relative mood when they picked up the book. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Now let's take a look at Buster from Bluffton followed by a page from The Storm in the Barn:

 

Source: YouTube

 

 

Source: books4school

 

What's Up Next: Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir by Ingeborg Day

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers by David Stabler

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-17 14:46
Neverwhere
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed this after a bit. The first 30 to 40 percent I found slow. But the book picks up momentum and I liked how we get to see more of the London Below via other characters when we're not following the main characters of Richard and Door.

 

Richard Mayhew finds himself helping a young woman one night and it changes his life forever. Without realizing it, helping the woman named Door will cost Richard his life as he knows it when he finds himself pushed out of his reality. Being lost about what to do, Richard goes looking for Door and finds out about London Below.

 

I liked Richard though I found him to be a little slow on the uptake sometimes. But I think that Gaiman did a good job of having a readers see things through Richard's eyes.

 

This book is told in the third person, and we get to follow a number of characters around. We have the Lady Door, the Marquis, and a woman called Hunter who's the best hunter in London Below. When Door goes on a quest to figure out who killed her family and why these four characters end up going on a series of mini-quests.

 

I kind of like how Gaiman mixes history in this book along with some cultural significance to people who are from Britain.

 

The writing was good, but as I said above, the flow was off for me for a good portion of the book.

 

The setting was awesome and I found myself interested in finding out more about those who live in London Below.

 

The ending felt a bit anti-climatic to me. But all in all, this was a pretty good story.

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