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review 2016-11-13 19:28
The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert
The Lion Seeker - Kenneth Bonert

This is an engaging historical novel, and given the quality of writing and characterization I can see Bonert going on to write excellent literary novels in the future. This one falls short of its ambitious goals, but it’s still worth a read.

The Lion Seeker follows a young man named Isaac, a Jewish refugee from Lithuania, growing up working-class in South Africa in the 1930s. Numerous threads follow various aspects of Isaac’s life: his complicated family, his romance with a rich girl, his work – this last is a surprisingly large part of the book, as Isaac is pulled between his own desire to work on cars (encouraged by his craftsman father) and his mother’s urging that he make as much money as possible, by fair means or foul. The social situation of the day also intrudes, both in ways that make Isaac’s blood boil (anti-Semitism) and ways he refuses to acknowledge (oppression of black South Africans).

All these threads are woven together in an engaging way. The style, meanwhile, is on the literary side and takes a little getting used to: quotation marks are not used, and there’s a lot of South African slang. It’s all easy enough to understand if you roll with it, and the local language lends vibrancy to the text. The characterization, meanwhile, is very strong. Isaac is a prick – selfish, none too bright, easily moved to anger and violence – but drawn so believably that rather than spending time disliking him, I was engaged in seeing how his life would play out. By drawing readers into Isaac’s life, Bonert does a great job of creating empathy for him without trying to convince us to like him.

My biggest issue with the book is the way it falls apart towards the end. Isaac does something awful, though understandable given the hundreds of pages we’ve read before, and then the book mostly peters out. He joins the army, which we don’t see, but which is perhaps meant as some sort of atonement, and then he returns home and still is not particularly remorseful, and finally the book ends with little sense of any thematic arcs coming to a close. I was left wondering about the point of many of its threads, especially the romance (which was always the least believable aspect of the book, though at least it ends believably). What is this book ultimately about? It’s hard to say. And for such an ambitious novel, that is an issue.

I’ll also add, even for folks who don’t think of themselves as sensitive readers, that the book includes a couple of particularly horrific death-by-torture descriptions. Honestly, they’re so gruesome I’m not even sure I find them believable. It seems like there’s so much of this out there now that authors feel they have to outdo all other authors for such scenes to have an impact.

Ultimately, I did enjoy this book, and for immersion in a time and place and in the life of a flawed protagonist, it’s excellent. I look forward to seeing what Bonert writes next.

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review 2016-08-30 22:02
Good Story and Characters
Dream Caller (A Dream Seeker Novel Book 3) - Michelle Sharp

Jordan had moved in with Tyler.Jordan was a St Lewis narcotics detective. She could also connect with the spirits of murder victims while sleeping in her dreams. No way could Jordan come across normal. This last dream Jordan had actually seen the murderer as well as his victim - Hailey- as she died. Ty knew Jordan had dreams often from cases she was working on and the information came from the dead. This was the first time Jordan had really tried to work out a relationship. Ty was a homicide detective. Jordan was know living with Ty and had a pet for the first time a dog named beauty. Beauty was astray who collapsed on Ty and Jordan’s property after a fight with a coyote. Beauty was a sweet loving dog. Ty was at another homicide scene with Victim - Hailey- who had been nineteen. Bahan was an FBI agent who used the excuse to see Tyu and Jordan’s new home to come to see her. Jordan thought Bahan was bringing her a new case. Jordan had just found out her dad was not a drug dealer that she had hated for twenty years because of what he did but actually he had been with the FBI for seven years and a St Lewis cop before that. Her dad and another agent had been deep undercover in a drug cartel when something went very wrong. This had happened twenty years ago.  Jordan had been there hidden when her father, mother, and sister had been murdered.

I liked this book alot. I hadn’t read the previous books but I am going to try to get them. I did enjoy this book anyway. I did think they made too much of Ty’s and Isabel’s past. Jordan should have been more secure with Ty as he obviously cares deeply fro her or they wouldn’t be living together. I loved the way Jordan is determined to know the truth about her family’s murder. This is just all around a good story. I loved the plot and the characters were really good. I also really liked the ins and outs of this story and I recommend.

I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.

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review 2016-07-15 00:00
Seeker - Amy Reece Seeker - Amy Reece Ally has always had a certain element of clairvoyance in her life - whether through her mother's ability to find anything or her grandmother's ability to touch her stuff to find out what she'd been doing - but when her own gift begins to manifest around her 17th birthday, things get crazy. She begins having visions of one of the popular girls at school - an ex-friend who has managed to fall into the stereotypical mean girl role - who's mixed up in something bad. As she tries to deal with these visions, she gets to know Jack - a guy with a past working hard to turn his life around. Getting mixed up with Ally could mean trouble as he tries to get through his probation with a clean record, but the two seem to be made for each other. It's a race to put everything right, but can Ally do it in time?

I found the writing to be great, the characters believable, the situation interesting and the entire book engaging. The only put off for me was the language. I'm not a particular fan of cussing, though I can tolerate some, but these kids were cussing all the time.

The romance kind of went super deep super quick, which I understand, but some of the talk got a bit too serious for me at the end. I mean, she's 16 going on 17. And the adults are only too happy to see the two of them together, which I think is unusual considering the age difference (not much in the scheme of things, but at that age, it can mean a world of difference, and especially with his background). The struggle focused on them wondering if the other really liked them, when there were other struggles that would have been more realistic.

Ally cried an awful lot, and Jack seemed okay with that. Not my typical experience, though I suppose it could happen. And Ally kept saying how she's not usually such an emotional gal. Again, kind of understandable, though never really explained.

The author also breaks the wall between reader and narrator several times, which I think is to add suspense, but it didn't really work for me. It turned into a "well, the next part is going to be pretty bad" kind of commentary, which took me out of the story and fell flat (in my opinion).

Otherwise, an enjoyable book, very steamy romance (it never crosses into sex), and an emotional roller coaster, which I always enjoy. Probably not going to check out the rest of the series (I'm reading books aloud to my toddler son, and this just didn't seem very appropriate, even if he doesn't understand a word of it), even though it ends on a cliffhanger that I would love to learn more about. Oh well. There are plenty of books out there.

**Trigger warning - there's a bit of violence in this book, and particularly, rape. The author doesn't go into great detail, but if this is subject matter you can't handle, you might want to find another book.**
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review 2016-06-27 21:16
The Seeker: (Mortal Beloved Time Travel Romance, #3) - Pamela DuMond


Madeline is a teen aged, time traveling, Messenger. Her missions are to deliver messages throughout history. No message too big or too small. In THE SEEKER Madeline is on a journey to try an undo an impulsive message she has given in 1961 that has a tragic outcome in her present day life. On this journey, she learns more about herself and her real mission in life. It's been interesting seeing how far Madeline has come since learning she is a Messenger back in the first book in the MORTAL BELOVED series. I think she is now starting to better understand her life's purpose since being given this gift from her parents. Let's hope there are more books to come for our time traveler.

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text 2016-06-16 04:52
33% or Page 111
Venetia - Georgette Heyer



"A new day, fresh with new promise set her tingling; the thrush's trill became a lure and a command; she slid from the smothering softness of her feather bed, and went with a swift, springing step to the window sweeping back the blinds, and thrusting open the casement."


This is just begging for a musical interlude. All I could think of after this passage was that she surly emitted a delightful soprano trill that brought all the birds to her window, cheerfully answering her call to dust and sweep and mend her clothes while the happy squirrels brushed her golden locks.




Probably just me though. 


The last several chapters have been great fun in my opinion.The writing has flowed much better and I enjoy the lengthy bouts of dialogue. I think the last conversation only include 37 exclamations.


I still have a distinctly sleazy vibe from Damerel - but I don't dislike him really. I'm not so sure that I would say he's 'misunderstood', BUT I feel like he's genuinely intrigued by Venetia's naivete - she's open and  fresh, not at all coy, and has a unique outlook on her life and circumstances. No doubt, he's lived a pretty jaded existence - so I understand the allure.


Somewhat similarly, Venetia is attracted to everything she's never experienced - his worldliness. She has lived such a sheltered life, but is well read and seems to have a desire to be practical - and she's not very sentimental. I suppose that comes from having neglectful upbringing. On the onset, I would have thought that Damerel would have crushed a spirit such as hers, but the more I read the more I think they are probably well matched. Venetia is subtly warped in her own way, being isolated and sans attachment (or a healthy relationship).


Venetia's acceptance of Damerel's man-whore ways is so funny to me considering all the "sluts" and "hussy's" I keep hearing about. I thought this quote from her was really screwy :


"They must be quite addle-brained to suppose that you would look twice at any but the most ravishing females, for you have been used only to be in love with beauties for years and years! It is most unreasonable to expect people to change their habits in the twinkling of of an eye"


I'm not heavily invested in the couple of Venetia and Damerel as I would have thought but am quite content on just enjoying the story. I *FEEL* like there is going to be some crazy person living in the attic - there's some weird tension that I can't put my finger on. It could be that Jane Eyre permanently traumatized me though.









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