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review 2017-06-29 02:27
Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper
Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper - Christopher David Rosales
In a future, dystopian world, the city of Los Angeles is a dangerous place where the authoritarian  military and the guerrillas are in constant battle.  In this Los Angeles, a young man, Rudy the Third, also known as Tre, finds quick and easy money working for the guerrillas as an assassin.  Tre is the son to a professor who may sometimes teach things that the military would rather he not teach and the brother to an extraordinarily smart sister who finds herself in love with a military Captain.  When Tre receives a hit on his father, things begin to get confusing and Tre begins to question his place in life.
 
We are immediately thrown into a scary world that draws many parallels to today's world and issues.  This book took me a little while to get into, the narrative is a story being told from mother to son, who is not concerned about why the world is the way it is or how it got that way.  Therefore, I didn't know where exactly we were in time or why Los Angeles is the way it is.  The aspects that did absorb me into the book were the dramatic and graphic assaults as well as the emotions of the characters.  Each character goes on an emotional rollercoaster and the journey is in their experiences.  I did find myself gravitating to Tre's sister, Nora throughout the book and was very interested in the decisions that she would make.  Overall, a raw and passionate story of revolution. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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review 2017-06-03 14:03
A gentle read for those who love books set in Britain, short-stories and Blithe Spirit
The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel - Cecily Ruth Hogan

Thanks to NetGalley and Two Roads for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Although I am not sure this is ‘the feel-good novel of the year’ I’d have to agree it is a feel-good novel, although perhaps not for everybody.

The novel tells many stories, although it tells two in more detail, those of Anthony and Laura (later of Laura and her new family) and Eunice and Bomber. Although those stories are separated by forty years, they are parallel in many ways: an older man who puts an advertisement for an assistant, a younger woman —very young in Eunice’s case— who ends up becoming a personal friend of the man and whose life ends up enmeshed and entangled with that of her employer, both men’s work relates to literature (Anthony is a fairly successful writer of short stories and Bomber is a publisher), both males die leaving some sort of legacy to these women (and also asking them to fulfil their final wishes). As we read on, we might suspect that the relationship between these two stories runs deeper than at first appears, but it is not confirmed until very close to the end.

There are other important elements in the novel, which functions also as a collection of short stories, as Anthony, after experiencing a terrible loss, started to collect lost things, cataloguing them and using his study for safe keeping, in an attempt at recovering something he had lost himself. Throughout the novel, there are stories about those objects (written in italics so it is easy to differentiate them to the rest) interspersed with the two main stories. We are told, later in the book, that Anthony used those objects as inspiration for several collections of short stories, but the novel allows for several possible interpretations of what these stories really are. Are they imaginary stories? Are they the real stories behind the objects? If they are imaginary short-stories who has written them? Anthony? Somebody else? Each reader can choose whatever explanation s/he prefers and I’m sure there are more possibilities.

I mentioned the two main stories that frame the novel and the short stories within. Each chapter is told (in the third person) from one of the characters’ point of view (mostly Laura or Eunice) and this is is clearly indicated, as it is the year, because Eunice and Bomber’s story develops from the 1970s up to the current days. We get to know his family and follow his father’s illness (Alzheimer’s) that unfortunately later also afflicts Bomber himself. There are comments on movies of the period; there is the wonderful relationship with Bomber’s parents, the two dogs that share his life and an unrequited and impossible love story. Ah, and Bomber’s sister, Portia, her awful behaviour and her even worse attempts at getting her brother to publish one of her rip-offs of well-known and loved classics, that make for hilarious reading, especially for authors and book lovers. I must confess that, perhaps because their story develops over time and it has none of the paranormal elements added to the other, I particularly warmed to it. I found the depiction of the dementia sufferers (both father and son) touching, humorous and bittersweet, and although we don’t get to know Eunice well (other than through her devotion to Bomber and his life-work), she is a character easy to like and some of her actions make us cheer her on.

Laura’s story is that of somebody lost, perfectly in keeping with Anthony’s life mission. She made some questionable decisions when she was younger, married too young and her knight in shining armour turned up to be anything but. She is very insecure and full of self-doubt and that makes her a less likeable character as she pushes people away rather than risk being rejected, but she is also the one who has to change more and work harder to get out of her shell. Sunshine, a young neighbour, Down’s syndrome, also shares her point of view with the reader at times and becomes a member of the family, although she has her own too. She is less hindered by concern about what others’ might think, or what is right and wrong, and she has a special connection (not sure ‘power’ is the right word) with the objects and with the paranormal elements that later appear in the novel. Fred, the gardener, is the love interest, handsome and kind, but he seems to be there to provide the romance and second chance more than anything else, and he is not very well developed.

I’ve mentioned the paranormal elements. There is a ghost in the house and that takes up a fair amount of the book as Laura keeps trying to work out how to make things right. I am not sure this added much to the story but references to Blithe Spirit (that is being performed by an amateur theatrical group in the neighbourhood) put an emphasis on the effect the writer might have been aiming for (each reader can decide how well it works for them).

This is a well-written novel, with effective descriptions of objects, locations and people. There are elements of chick-lit (the descriptions of Laura’s disastrous date, her chats with her friend…), romantic touches, some elements of mystery, plenty of loss, death and second chances, a fair bit about literature… The whole feeling of the story is somewhat old-fashioned (and very British. I’ve lost count of how many ‘lovely cups of tea’ are prepared and drunk during the novel, and although that is partly in jest, yes, there is a fair amount of repetition, foreshadowing and signposting, perhaps unnecessary in this kind of story). Some of the references, including songs and films, will be lost on the younger generations. Everything is fairly gentle; even the bad characters (Portia) are only moderately nasty and they are the object of fun rather than being truly evil. There are gossip and misunderstandings but nothing really awful happens. No gore details, no huge surprises, no hot sex (I think you’ll have to buy Portia’s stories of Hotter Potter for that), and even technology only appears by the backdoor (people send text messages and a laptop and a website  appear towards the end, but this is not a book where characters follow mother trends).

Funnily enough, a publisher (rival of Anthony) sums up what the books he publishes should be like, thus:

I know what normal, decent people like, and that’s good, straightforward stories with a happy ending where the baddies get their comeuppance, the guy gets the girl and the sex isn’t too outré.

The structure of the novel and some of the short-stories are not at all like that, but the spirit behind it perhaps it and its charm might be lost on some readers who prefer more action and adventures and a more modern style of writing.

In summary, a gentle read, bittersweet, with plenty of stories for those who love short stories, of particular interest to lovers of books and movies set in Britain, stories about writers, the publishing world and women’s stories. It has sad moments and funny ones but it is unlikely to rock your world.

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review 2017-06-02 20:28
My Review of Villain Keeper
Villain Keeper - Laurie McKay

Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay is the first book of The Last Dragon Charmer series. Prince Caden wants to be an Elite Paladin, but his father, King Axel, sends Caden away and Caden isn't sure why his father would do that without having the Elite Paladin ceremony. He ends up in Asheville, North Carolina with Brynne, a sorceress, and his horse Sir Horace.

 

This was a fun story. Fast paced and imaginative. I can't wait to read the next installment!

 

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and all opinions are my own.

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review 2017-05-06 16:58
Keeper (Terran Times Second Wave Book 4) by Viola Grace Review
Keeper (Terran Times Second Wave Book 4) - Viola Grace

Aggie was slotted for life as a Keeper, a woman who put herself between her charges and danger. A genuine crisis of conscience kicks in on her second assignment and ends with her charge in hiding and Aggie in cold sleep for a while.

Ikvaro was Aggie’s instructor on the moon base and his heart broke when she disappeared and was reported dead. Informed that she was alive and needed his help, he resigns his commission as instructor and heads out to the stars to find his woman now that duty no longer stands between them.

She thaws, he looks into her eyes and she is no longer alone in there. She has gone from Keeper to Avatar and there is no protocol for this manoeuvre.

 

 

Review

 

This a wonderful complex loved forever with a well earned happily ever after for a moral heroine and a loyal hero. Good stuff. 

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text 2017-03-31 07:58
The Lighthouse Keeper by Cynthia Ellingsen Blog Tour and Giveaway
 
blog tour
 
Book Title: The Lighthouse Keeper 
Author: Cynthia Ellingsen 
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction 
Release Date: April 4, 2017 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
 
Goodreads
 
book blurb
 
Dawn Conners’s parents are famous for finding historic treasures, but she has a knack for losing things—her job, her boyfriend, and now, her reputation. Thanks to a mud-slinging exposé, Dawn’s late great-grandfather is assumed guilty of stealing silver from a century-old shipwreck. Hoping to clear his name, Dawn returns to Starlight Cove, her idyllic hometown on Lake Michigan, where the doomed vessel sleeps beneath the beam of a ramshackle lighthouse.
 
Her plan: remodel and sell the lighthouse while untangling the perplexing family mystery. Neither task is easy, especially once her well-meaning parents and the quirky locals—including nautical researcher and Starlight Cove’s most eligible bachelor, Kip Whittaker—get involved. Despite their attraction, Dawn is reluctant to trust Kip, or any of the close-knit townsfolk. But as she pieces together the truth, Dawn’s once-shuttered heart opens up. And if she’s willing, the lighthouse might guide her to a place she never expected to find, where the past entwines with a bright new beginning.
excerpt
 
 
 
“Dawn Conners?” a voice called.
 
I snapped out of my reverie and stared.
 
A gorgeous guy in his midthirties dragged a rickety rowboat through the water. His dark hair was windblown, cheeks rough with stubble, and his navy T-shirt clung to a strong upper body. He flashed me a smile I felt all the way down to my toes.
 
“Are you Dawn?” he called.
 
“Yes,” I said, smoothing my hair.
 
Who on earth was he?
 
 
 
I watched as he tossed a bowline knot over a metal pole and cinched it with a firm tug. The rope went taut, along with his upper arms. Then he jogged across the sand and came to a halt next to the boardwalk.
 
Midnight-blue eyes surveyed my fitted linen dress, bare legs, and low pumps. In a voice much too husky for polite conversation, he said, “You always wear high heels to the beach?”
 
I flushed.
 
Even though Libby liked to say that my fitted dresses and pinned-up hair made me look like a candidate for public office, I didn’t expect to hear it from a stranger.
 
“Depends on the day,” I shot back. “Do you always look like you just rolled out of bed?”
 
He grinned. “You’re already thinking about me in bed?”
 
“I have an appointment with Kipling Whittaker,” I said. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to—”
 
“You can call me Kip.”
 
Arrgh. I couldn’t believe this.
 
The fact that my mother had led me to believe that this guy was a gentleman of a certain age meant she was up to one thing: matchmaking. In her mind, I came to Starlight Cove for a fun, relaxing summer vacation. That assessment could not be further from the truth. The last thing I wanted to do was waste time flirting with some rumple-haired playboy.
 
Especially one named Kip.
 
meet the author
 
Cynthia Ellingsen lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and is the author of two previous novels: The Whole Package and Marriage Matters. She loves connecting with readers through her website, Facebook, and Twitter. Visit her at www.cynthiaellingsen.com.
 
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