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review 2019-09-11 15:09
And This is Where I Leave You...
Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things #2) - Paula Brackston

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 

 

I was hoping that this book could turn it around, but honestly I was just bored. You would think a book about time travel would be interesting, but it's really not. I think Brackston is hoping to set up Xanthe so have an epic nemesis like in her "The Witch's Daughter" series and I just cannot live through that mess again. This book doesn't hang together very well. Xanthe is not interesting at all. We have some pieces about her ability to "spin" through time, but no real information. We also have her talking to another character about this and my eyes glazed over. I wanted Xanthe to go back to Samuel and her protestations about her mother and her store just got annoying. We also have three love interests this time through and I just threw up my hands. The big bad was a laugh and a half and I just maybe snickered at the ending. Maybe next time Xanthe listens to someone. 

 

Xanthe is trying to stay focused on helping her mother run her antique business in the town of Marlborough. Xanthe still thinks about Samuel, the man she met back in the seventeenth century. However, Xanthe is determined to not travel back in time. She had a hard time lying to her mother and she knows that she can't say back in the past. However, on a shopping trip with her mother, a chocolate pot "sings" to Xanthe. She doesn't know why it's calling to her and why it seems so reluctant to show her it's story. When Xanthe gets a vision that Samuel is in danger, she travels back in time to find out that he is being held prisoner and soon to be hanged for a plot against the king. If this isn't enough, Xanthe's ex Marcus is running around Marlborough trying to get her to talk to him again. And of course we have Liam still wanting more from Xanthe though she's told him she's not ready for a relationship. 

 

I don't know, I should not have been hoping that Xanthe fail and stay back in the past. Her reasoning behind staying for her mother made me cringe a bit. I don't really see Xanthe doing what she loves, she's staying to take care of her mother and help her with her business. We hear how Xanthe is a really good singer, and I don't recall her singing that much this go round. Maybe once I think? It just seems as if all of her supposed passions are dried up. When Xanthe finally meets someone who knows about her abilities though she can't get information out of them. I started to get annoyed because it makes zero sense to me why it's not discussed. And then of course, Xanthe meets another spinner, or what I call a dark leaper (you Quantum Leap fans know what I am talking about). Honestly that is what jarred me a bit, I did start thinking about this book being a send up of Quantum Leap and then I started to see if I could find that series streaming anywhere. 

 

Image result for quantum leap gif

 

I can't even say much about other characters. The most interesting one to me is a woman that Xanthe meets in the past who won't tell her much. We sadly don't get enough scenes with her and Samuel. Liam bugs me and Marcus sucked. We have Xanthe revealing her powers to someone and I was so bored with that that I started looking up Quantum Leap gifs.

 

Image result for quantum leap gif

 

The writing read as forced to me a few times. I mean honestly this whole Samuel is in danger thing could have been tied up pretty fast. But nope, we have Xanthe jumping back and forth in time and dealing with nonsense from Marcus and going over her abilities with someone and then going back in time trying to deal with the evil leaper. Pick a story-line and stick with it please.


The flow was off and I kept going oh is she still on that with so and so? I just started to lose interest in this whole book by the 70 percent mark or so. It was a struggle to finish cause we have like 3 or 4 "endings" before we get to the dun dun dun one. 

 

The book jumps back and forth from our time to the 1600s in England again. The only reason why I am giving this book 2 stars though is that Brackston obviously did research on chocolate houses in that time and place and chocolate pots. I didn't even know that this was a real thing and got interested in reading about them and liked the details we are given. At times the book reads as a history book, but it didn't bother me at all. 

 

The ending is a cliffhanger and one wonders how Xanthe is going to get her way out of this one. 

 

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text 2019-09-11 14:00
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things #2) - Paula Brackston

Somehow this series got worse. I don't think I will continue after this one. Xanthe and her going backwards into time thing is getting old. Along with her worrying about her mother. And now we throw another guy into the mix and I didn't like anyone except for Samuel. Things also end on an ominous note and I don't have time for cliffhangers in books.

 

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text 2019-09-09 21:23
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things #2) - Paula Brackston

Holding my place.

 

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review 2019-05-29 16:27
Not Enough Development of Main Character and Ending Was Disappointing
The Little Shop of Found Things - Paula Brackston

Not too much to say here except that I have been reading Paula Brackston for years now and she's either a hit or a miss I have found. This one just doesn't rise up there to the other books of hers that I have read and loved (The Witch's Daughter, The Silver Witch, and The Witches of the Blue Well). She chooses to do contemporary in this one, however, with the time travel aspect it definitely appears that Brackston was more focused on the historical parts of the novel more (Catholics having to practice their faith in secret or fear being murdered) then actually developing the characters more (Xanthe and her feelings towards her father, her ex, what she actually really likes to do) the ghost, etc. The middle part of the book starts to drag after Xanthe is firmly in the past, though I liked the love interest. The ending was a letdown, but since there is a second book, hopefully things get resolved.

 

"The Little Shop of Found Things" follows Xanthe as she and her mother Flora relocate from London to open an antiques shop in the village of Marlborough. Both mother and daughter are ready to start over (Xanthe from the end of a relationship which actually caused her life to be ruined and Flora finally divorcing Xanthe's father). Readers quickly find out that Xanthe has an ability to touch an object and can get glimpses of lives lived via that object. She also is often drawn to a piece and has to have it no matter what. Going to a sale with her mother, Xanthe comes across a silver chatelaine and finds herself drawn to it. Xanthe doesn't realize that it is has been put in her path by a ghost named Margaret Merton that wants to use Xanthe to help her daughter Alice. Xanthe is soon confronted and forced to go back through time in order to help Margaret's daughter who is living in 17th century England. 

 

Besides Xanthe's ability to touch objects and sometimes get a glimpse of the past and apparently her great singing ability, there didn't seem to be anything else there. We know she had a past boyfriend and that explains her reluctance to be involved with anyone. I liked that Brackston didn't change that up when Xanthe meets Luke (repair guy that lives nearby). She definitely wants to take time for herself and to help her mother with the shop they have bought. I guess I just wanted to know what else was there about her. When she gets pushed into her mission to help Alice or deal with her mother being harmed it just didn't grab me as much. When Xanthe is in the past though I felt like she kept doing dumb things one after another. The only times it became interesting to me is when she met the character of Samuel and the rest of the Appleby's. 

 

I did like the character of Samuel and liked how he and Xanthe were together. It was a sweet romance and I wanted more.


I didn't really like the character of Luke. He just seemed off. And even after Xanthe is telling him she's not looking for a relationship it read a little, okay little lady, but I want you so that is that.


Flora needed a bigger role. I was fascinated by her condition and how the divorce was affecting her. It felt weird her and Xanthe were not discussing much of that. I also thought how weird it was that Flora knows about her daughter's gifts and never seems to comment about them.  

 

I really disliked the ghost of Margaret Merton. Her threatening Flora and trying to harm Xanthe at times unless she helped her daughter lost all sympathy to me. Also, how would a ghost know you can time travel and change the past? It just made zero sense to me the longer I thought about the whole plot line. 

 

Alice read as a non-entity to me. When you find out what led her to get into trouble I wondered would someone still do this since she knew what could happen. 

 

The writing was good. I always enjoy Brackston's writing and she provides such great historical details that I got a kick out of. The flow was a bit off at first until Xanthe goes back in time the first time. 

 

The book is set in present day and the 1600s in England. I have to say that I highly doubt that anyone would have hired Xanthe when she first appears dressed in modern clothing. Trying to have it excused as she is traveling with a troupe and is a minstrel felt like a huge stretch to me. Xanthe also kept blundering with Alice and others and I had to wonder if anyone would have been able to understand what Xanthe was saying when she was speaking since she kept talking in modern speech. Also Xanthe running around talking about Catholicism at the time I would have thought would have gotten her locked away somewhere, but that was kind of hand waved away. 

 

image 0

 

The ending was a letdown as I said already. I wish that things had ended differently. And it was odd how there was zero resolution with the ghost. 

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text 2019-05-29 13:38
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Little Shop of Found Things - Paula Brackston

Finished this yesterday but could not get into Booklikes to update. It was so slow I couldn't get it to pop up via my cell.

 

Anyway, this ended up having a very lackluster ending. And I honestly liked the past love interest way more than the present day one. The present day one creeped me out in parts. 

 

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