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review 2018-08-17 23:03
Book Review of The Devil's Cup: A Medieval Mystery (A Hawkenlye Mystery) by Alys Clare
The Devil's Cup - Alys Clare

Sir Josse d'Aquin is summoned to assist the beleaguered King John in the 17th - and final - Hawkenlye mystery.

 

September, 1216. A foreign army has invaded England. The country is divided. Some support the rebel barons and Prince Louis of France; others remain loyal to the king. His rule under threat, King John summons Sir Josse d'Acquin to support him. But can Sir Josse save the king from himself?

 

Meanwhile, Josse's daughter Meggie is summoned to Hawkenlye Abbey to attend a sick patient in a very distressed state. The elderly woman is warning of terrible danger unless she can complete her mission. What she learns from her patient will set Meggie on a perilous journey to retrieve a cursed treasure. But will she be in time to prevent a tragedy?

 

Review 3*

 

This story is the seventeenth and final book in the Hawkenlye mystery series. When I picked this book up at the library, I didn't realise it was part of a series at all. However, this didn't seem to matter, as the story reads as a stand-alone, though there are some references to other characters and books in the series.

 

Sir Josse d'Aquin is an interesting character; he's a knight of middle age, or maybe between the age of fifty or sixty years old in the year 1216. He finds himself being summoned by his childhood friend, King John, to help him as he tries to drive the invading force of Prince Louis of France out of England. But, while he's travelling with the King, Josse's daughter, Meggie, finds herself on a mission of her own.

 

Meggie is also an interesting character. She is a healer, working with the nuns at Hawkenlye Abbey as they tend to the sick and infirm. When a mysterious woman who is ill arrives at the Abbey with a warning of danger, Meggie finds herself journeying with the ailing woman's son, Faruq, to locate a relic that is cursed. But, as danger threatens, will they be able to retrieve the relic in time, or will it exact a terrible price?

 

As I said above, I saw this book in my local library. I love a good mystery, even a historical one, so after reading the synopsis, I decided to read it. I am struggling to write this review, not because it's bad (because it isn't), but because it isn't that good either. It is an okay read for me.

 

I found myself putting this book down, reading something else, and coming back to it with no problem. It is not a hard read by any means; in fact, it's a pretty easy read. This story told through several character's eyes, should have made it more interesting. However, something is missing from this tale. Maybe other mystery novels have spoilt me, but the plot is missing a crucial element - fast-paced suspense/mystery. This tale plods along at such a slow pace that I lost interest at times, which is why I would put it down and then come back to it. I've read other historical fiction novels that have sucked me in and left me breathless from the wild ride. Unfortunately, this book didn't do that to me. It is only in the last third of the book that the action picks up. The Devil's Cup of the title is an artefact that carries a curse. But the author, instead of using it as a tool to build suspense, focuses on King John and his attempt to forestall Prince Louis's invasion of England, which, I feel, is a shame as the object should have had a more significant role in this fictional tale.

 

Apart from the slow pace of the story, Alys Clare has written an intriguing story that brought the past to life. I love how she invoked the feeling of being transported into the past with her descriptive writing. The story flow is a little jerky in places where some of the scenes change in my opinion, but other readers may disagree with me, so will leave you to decide for yourselves. Nonetheless, I would consider reading more of this author's books in the future.

 

Due to some scenes of violence, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I do recommend this book if you love historical fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-08-17 21:02
There was more than just images moving in this one...
The Mystery of the Moving Image - C. S. Poe

Ok before I get into this one, I'm just going to say if you haven't read the first two books you may want to stop here because some of the stuff that I'm going to mention happened in previous books and I admit I'm not up for spoiler tags, however, I don't plan on mentioning any major plot points and will keep it to smaller things.

 

It's Sebastian and Calvin!!!! I'm really, really loving these two and this book has cemented them with me. I was more than a little impressed with the first book and book two also went fairly well but this one...Sweetbabyjebus!!!! I loved it. From start to finish this story had my full attention.

 

After having his apartment destroyed in the last book, Seb's needing a new home and so he and Calvin are taking the next step and they've found a place of their own. Calvin's got a dog and he's seeing a counselor (this is a previous story thing).

 

Once again Sebastian is faced with a mystery with origins in the past and this time it goes back to the beginnings of the golden age of film...or more accurately the beginnings of film. When Sebastian receives a mysterious package at his shop. Inside he finds a Thomas Edison Kinetoscope a 19th century movie viewer but there's so much more to this than it appears. 

 

As Sebastian gets drawn further into the mystery things begin to become complicated and not everything or everyone is as it seems. But add in to these events the appearance of someone from Calvin's past and Neil, Seb's ex and you've got a story that's teeming with twist and turns. From start to finish I was kept guessing and wonderfully entertained with this one.

 

Calvin and Sebastian are definitely evolving as a couple and I loved seeing them grown and their interactions had some very definite humorous moments. Along with Calvin and Seb's relationship growth, we're treated to some personal growth on the part of Seb and Neil, as they both evolve from bitterness over their failed relationship to a friendship that just might still be tinged with a bit of sarcasm on both their parts. Sarcasm that also held a touch of affection as Seb and Neil both realize that the biggest problem they'd ever faced was that they were really only ever meant to be friends.

 

Back when the first book was released in this series there were mentions of another well loved cop & shop owner pairing and the resemblance that Calvin and Sebastian held to them, which is something that I'm not trying to dispute because I truly feel this is a matter of personal perspective so I'm not looking for a right or wrong here because I don't think there is one, but I would just like to say that for a number of reasons with this book I think Sebastian and Calvin have firmly moved themselves out of that shadow and are standing in a spotlight that is all their own.

 

Now there's just one other thing that I'd like to mention and that's the ending...which, I'm simply going to say I loved it. The ending of this book for me was totally perfect...I loved it and yes, I'm so on board for more of these two men and I can't wait for what's coming next or at least I hopefully I won't have to wait too long, maybe...please?

 

*************************

An ARC of 'The Mystery of the Moving Image' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2018-08-17 16:28
Reading progress update: I've read 123 out of 529 pages.
The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter knows how to write a compelling story. It´s gritty and gory and there is so much drama in the life of the main character, it is unreal. But I cannot put this book down, even though I had other plans:

 

[Source]

 

Well, at least I did a little bit of house cleaning today :).

 

 

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review 2018-08-17 11:28
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Her Royal Spyness, #12)
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding - Rhys Bowen

This series is always enjoyable, even when the plots aren't as good as they could be.  Luckily, even though the title is really a stretch, the plot of this one isn't.  I can imagine how it might have happened back in the day of the aristocracy owning multiple estates they often didn't visit for long stretches of time.

 

The subplot of the book is the culmination of 11 previous books filled with the flirting and courting between Darcy and Georgie - the wedding.  I was struck with trepidation at the beginning of the book as Georgie spies a pretty woman standing next to Darcy and immediately falls into a pit of despair; I dislike characters that don't embrace their own self worth.  Happily, it was a fleeting scene, and the rest of the (minimal) wedding related story-line was full of delicious revenge as Georgie gets to watch her evil sister-in-law fume over Georgie's close relationship with the King and Queen.  The scene where she tells Fig who her bridesmaids are was one of the best.

 

Overall, an enjoyable read.

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review 2018-08-17 00:06
Single Malt by Layla Reyne - My Thoughts
Single Malt - Layla Reyne

This book hit the spot.  You know, that spot you have when you can't decide for your life which book you want to read next, even what genre you want to read in!  Why I chose this book, I don't know, but it was the right move.  I really liked it!

I'm a sucker for these buddy/lovers/partners books.  Ty and Zane (Abigail Roux) are my total OTP couple and Prophet and Tommy (S. E. Jakes) are right close behind.  And now Irish and Whiskey or Aiden and Jamie if you prefer, can be added to that list. 

Filled with action and puzzles as well as some intense interaction between the two main characters, Single Malt was a quick read for me.  A page-turner if you will.  The chemistry is undeniable between the two and I really enjoyed how their banter could go from playful and teasing to intense and sexy and then right into kick-ass get-'er-doneness.  I liked both of them. 

I also liked the cast of secondary characters.  Especially Aiden's younger brother, Danny.  He has a book later in the series, I believe. 

I'm intrigued by the mystery which I assume will arc over multiple books. 

So, yes, I will be picking up the next book in the series very soon!

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