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review 2018-03-12 22:32
"Who is my real Daddy"
The Stolen Child - Sanjida Kay

This was an excellent psychological thriller that kept me wanting to know more. I was listening to the audiobook and the narration by Helen Johns was excellent too. It is well paced and convincing, with good dialogue; the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that the police didn't seem to do much, nearly all the discoveries that led to the denouement, were made by Zoe Morley, the Mum, which seemed just a little too coincidental.


Zoe and Ollie had adopted baby Evie from a drug addicted young mother. And, as sometimes happens in such cases, several years later, they were able to have a child of their own, who they named Ben. They are content with their young family and life is good. Then Zoe discovers that seven-year-old Evie, has been receiving gifts and cards signed 'Your loving Daddy'. He declares his undying love for Evie and promises to come and rescue her from her 'fake parents'. As Evie struggles to come to terms with the fact that she is adopted and her brother, Ben, is not, the thought of having one of her 'real' parents back becomes more and more tantalising.


I thought early on that I knew who Evie's father was, but I'm glad to say there were many more surprises and possible culprits along the way and the ending managed to take me by surprise.

Set in Yorkshire, in and around the Ilkley Moors, this novel has a brooding atmosphere and I loved that Zoe uses this to inspire her art.


I am looking forward to reading Sanjida Kay's earlier novel, Bone to Bone, which also seems to have been well received.

Recommended, and the audio is good too.

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review 2018-03-11 20:01
Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara, translated by Cathy Hirano, illustrations by Miho Satake
Dragon Sword and Wind Child - Miho Satake,Noriko Ogiwara,Cathy Hirano

Fifteen-year-old Saya is the only survivor of an attack by the army of the God of Light on her village when she was a child. Although she occasionally dreams about the attack, she now lives with her adoptive parents in the village of Hashiba, which has accepted the God of Light and his immortal children, Princess Teruhi and Prince Tsukishiro. Saya has no memories of her birth parents and loves the Light just as much as any other person in Hashiba, so it's a shock when several strangers arrive and tell her that she's a princess of the Children of the Dark. Unlike the immortal Children of the God of Light, the Children of the Goddess of Darkness can die and then be reincarnated, and Saya is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden. Before she has a chance to truly process this, Prince Tsukishiro arrives and takes a sudden interest in her.

Saya is faced with several choices: she can become one of the prince's handmaidens and eventually his bride, knowing that he doesn't really love her; she can kill herself like the Water Maidens before her; or she can somehow find a way to escape. She chooses the third option and discovers both the Dragon Sword, a weapon so powerful it can kill gods, and Chihaya, a Child of the God of Light who is seen as a failure by his siblings because he has always been drawn to the Darkness.

I honestly didn't know where Ogiwara was going to go with this book, most of the time. Saya figured out that her love for Prince Tsukishiro was foolish surprisingly quickly, although it took a bit longer for her heart to catch up. Chihaya was...unexpected. I had caught the mention of a third Child of the God of Light, but I hadn't thought that Saya would be meeting him so soon and taking him along with her.

The immortals, Chihaya in particular, came across as somewhat alien. Chihaya had the ability to switch bodies with various animals and didn't seem to be aware, or maybe didn't care, that the animals wouldn't necessarily be okay if they got injured while he was using them. He could experience pain and certainly disliked it, but any injuries would usually disappear in a day or less. He cared about his horse and Saya, in that order, and I'm not sure he truly realized, during a good chunk of the book, that Saya could die.

The book's pacing was a bit slow for my tastes, but I liked reading about Saya's efforts to understand Chihaya. She had to struggle to convince the Children of the Goddess of Darkness to keep him free as he kept doing things that indicated he was more dangerous to have around than they'd initially thought. Watching how Chihaya changed as the story progressed was fascinating.

I wish, though, that Saya hadn't come across as more a supporting character than a main character. I went into the book expecting her to be more active. There were moments when she had choices to make and things to do, but mostly she existed to support Chihaya while he gradually came into his powers and got a better look at the Darkness he'd been drawn towards all his life. Saya supposedly had the power to pacify gods but never got to the point of being able to use them, unless her ability to connect with Chihaya counted.

I kind of wish this had been a friendship-only book, since I felt Chihaya and Saya worked best as friends, but I suppose their eventual romance fit with the "God of Light and Goddess of Darkness" theme. The way I felt about the two of them reminded me a little of how I felt about the sudden romance in Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. It felt forced.

All in all, despite its problems this was pretty good. I look forward to the next book, although I wonder how it'll be related to this one. I don't recognize the character names in the description and, honestly, the way Dragon Sword and Wind Child ended makes it work just fine as a standalone.


The book includes two full-page, full-color illustrations. One is a larger version of the cover illustration.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-03-11 19:01
The Tuscan Child - Rhys Bowen
#TheTuscanChild #NetGalley

 a suprise this book was!

It's About an English girl who's father dies and while cleaning out 
his house, she finds a returned letter to an Italian woman in a 
small town in Tuscany he fell in love with during the war while 
hiding out after his plane had crashed and he was wounded. 
She goes there to find out any information she can about that 
time and maybe just heal at the same time. 
Very well written and handles switching between 1973 and
1944 very well. Loved the culture and the description of the 
scenery and the food...the food had me drooling! 
Loved all the characters.especially the Italian lady who 
rents the room to the main character..she was my favorite!

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text 2018-03-11 14:39
Reading progress update: I've read 286 out of 286 pages.
Dragon Sword and Wind Child - Miho Satake,Noriko Ogiwara,Cathy Hirano

The ending: marriage counseling for deities.


"'It's over, it's over! No more Darkness, no more Light. No more friends or foes. There's nothing left to do. How about a snowball fight?'"


I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Parts of it were amazing, parts of it were mediocre, and I disliked the way Saya felt like a secondary character disguised as a main character for most of the book. Maybe 3.5 stars? I definitely plan on getting the second book, which is thankfully still in print and reasonably priced.


As far as the game goes, I read this for the "Arsenical Toothpaste" card. Noriko Ogiwara is a woman, and her given name starts with one of the letters in the word "arsenic." You could also argue that Lady Iwa, who was so old that no one knew her real age, was an important character, since she made the ending possible.


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text 2018-03-10 23:44
Reading progress update: I've read 178 out of 286 pages.
Dragon Sword and Wind Child - Miho Satake,Noriko Ogiwara,Cathy Hirano

I don't know if it's immortals in general that are creepy, or just Chihaya. He seems to at least dislike being in pain, but his attitude towards war is weird (war is nice because now he has a really excellent horse). He has the ability to switch bodies with animals at will, and it never seems to occur to him, or he doesn't care, that the animals aren't necessarily going to be okay if they get injured while he's using them. He, meanwhile, can recover from what would normally be fatal injuries in a day.

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