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review 2016-11-16 22:27
Book Review- Under a Pole Star
Under A Pole Star - Stef Penney

A short version of this review was completed for the LoveReading Reader Review Panel. My thanks to them for the copy of the novel. 

This is the story of Flora, she was a Scottish scientist and explorer. She spent a large part of her childhood in the Arctic onboard her father's whaling boat, and as such she had developed a love of the Arctic and the native people that lived there. We follow Flora as she returned to the Arctic as an adult, and met the romantic interest in the novel; Jakob.
I gave this novel 3 stars, I thought it was ok. There were aspects of the novel I enjoyed, the author's descriptions of the Arctic were particularly impressive in this novel. Penney's use of emotive language very successfully conveyed the beauty of the landscape she was describing, but also the inherent danger of the place. There were whole passages that painted detailed pictures of the sun rising or the starry night sky.
I also really enjoyed the exploration aspect of this novel, I was intrigued by the idea of a female explorer at that time, and the struggles she would inevitably face. I also enjoyed learning how an expedition would be carried out in the late 19th century, just how much planning was involved etc. Many of the struggles Flora faced were tied up in her femininity, she faced a lot of prejudice as she tried to plan and lead her own expedition in a world filled with misogyny, and I enjoyed how the author described these, and how Flora battled past them all.
However, this novel is 600+ pages long, and it did not contain enough action or gripping enough characters to keep me intrigued throughout, and I found I had very little desire to pick the book up. 
I thought the characters had lots of promise, but unfortunately the author failed to shape them into fully developed characters, or in Flora's case she made her so cold and aloof that it was impossible to get to know her, and thus to care about her at all. Jakob and the whole cast of minor characters were so poorly developed that I wasn't invested in any of them, and at times I actually struggled to tell them apart. 
A large portion of the beginning of the novel was taken up with explaining Flora and Jakob's childhood and university experiences respectively. It added very little to the story, didn't really develop the underdeveloped characters, and was a serious struggle to wade through. I believe that this novel could have been improved by a bit of culling, removal of extra scenes that added very little to the story but took up far too much time to get through. This would have made the novel quicker to read, which may have allowed me to get more involved with the characters, and so enjoy the novel more.
The latter half of the novel is mostly about the romantic relationship between Flora and Jakob. There are quite a lot of graphic sex scenes in this novel, so if that is something that bothers you then I would be cautious about reading this novel. This didn't bother me, but due to the high number of sex scenes there was little else written about their relationship other than this. We weren't given an insight into their relationship in any way other than physically, which I find disappointing, as a relationship is built on a multitude of things, and for it to be believable to the reader it must have this evidence behind it.
Overall, this novel contains many beautiful descriptions of the Arctic, and is an ok story of the first explorers of the Arctic, but is sadly let down by poorly developed characters and limp and lifeless romance.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter | Goodreads

Source: acascadeofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/book-review-under-pole-star.html
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review 2014-11-24 10:25
Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose
Closer Than You Think (Faith Corcoran) - Karen Rose

Publication Date: 12th February 2015


Publisher: Headline


ISBN: 9780755389971


Source: Lovereading, Netgalley 


Rating: 4.5/5



Deacon Novak has returned home. The experienced FBI Agent knows that his move to Cincinnati's Major Crime Enforcement Squad will be challenging, but the greater challenge will be saving his younger brother before he becomes the kind of criminal Deacon is chasing.

Faith Corcoran has escaped her identity. Being a therapist to victims of sex crimes was rewarding, but her work with their offenders has jeopardized her life. Her move represents a chance to build a new life in the empty old house her grandmother has left her.

What Faith doesn't know is that a killer has made the house his playground, taking girls into the basement and murdering them. And now Faith is about disturb his fun.

With a murderer focused on her, Faith is going to have to put her trust in Deacon if she's going to survive. Because this killer is always closer than she thinks....


My Review:

This is the first book I've read by Karen Rose, and is the first in a new series featuring Faith Corcoran. It's a fast-paced thriller with plenty of action and suspense, endearing characters and it keeps you guessing. There is also some romance, including some quite graphic sex scenes, but I feel this is a good fit with the mood of the storyline, rather than added simply for the sake of ticking another box.

Faith is a strong female character, which is great. Nothing turns me off a book quicker than a pathetic simpering woman, so Faith is an ideal lead for me.

All the characters in this book are well written, particularly the more striking looking Novaks. There is great attention to detail, making the characters spring to life right off the page.

The twists and turns mostly kept me on my toes, I was able to guess what was going to happen on a couple of occasions, hence the slightly less than perfect rating. I do read an awful lot of books of this genre, so I'm not convinced your average reader would be unsurprised by how the storyline evolves.

A thoroughly compulsive read; I'll definitely be taking a look at other novels by Karen Rose.


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text 2014-10-01 09:23
Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies (2014) Hardcover - Deborah Kay Davies

I tried and tried to get into this book, but I eventually gave up. Anyone read it?

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text 2014-09-12 09:45
My early reviews are horrifying!

I've been spending some time looking through the long list of books I've received via netgalley and found some that weren't in my booklikes review blog. Now I've had a chance to look at all the feedback I sent for some of those galleys I received when I first joined netgalley, I'm horrified at the sheer lack of detail - my reviews were so rubbish! I'm surprised I got offered any review copies at all!


I'm adding them to my blog in any case, and trying to decide whether I still need to post my reviews in so many places. I currently post in Amazon UK & US, goodreads, librarything, bookbridgr and my blog, as well as other sites if appropriate - netgalley, real readers, Waterstones, smashwords, Lovereading, B & N... I guess the reason I still post in most of these is that I figure every review helps the writer.


What does everyone else think?

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review 2014-03-31 19:53
Review: How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

Published by Picador on 10th April 2014. I'd like to thank the publisher, author and the Lovereading team for the advance reading copy I received.

An intense and chilling debut from author Emma Chapman, a fascinating and multi-medialayered tale of suspense with darkly menacing undertones.

I found this a gripping and unsettling story, but main character Marta didn't grab and pull me in as characters in similar books have.

An enjoyable read but somehow lacking that wow factor for me. 4/5 stars.
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